When you turn 30, all of a sudden, you're too old to eat cereal for dinner. But yet you’re still too young to be eating that dinner at 5:00 PM. So whether we like it or not, our age does act as a vague predictor of what we can and can’t do. The same rule applies in the NBA, and an excellent testament to this will be LeBron’s Los Angeles Lakers, who are, on average, 30.7 years old. But unfortunately for LeBron, there are two things that solidify an aging team with championship aspirations. It’s unfortunate because the Lakers are mediocre in both. These being:
- Individual playoff experience
- Established championship structure
If your response to both is that there's only been a one-year stall since the Lakers won their bubble championship - you know, the ‘hardest championship ever won’ according to a certain somebody - then my response would be pay attention. A LeBron James team replaces role players like their models in a 50 Cent music video. They are all trying to impress that one man; they never know if their work will abruptly stop tomorrow, and it's probably the most significant thing they will ever be known for.
But the fact that LeBron's played more playoff games than 50% of NBA teams, literally, then you have to assume they have enough playoff experience. At least while he's on the floor. But the rest of the squad might as well have been picked from the 2008 Olympic Redeem Team. Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, and Trevor Ariza are at that stage of their lives where they need to stretch more than they practice.
But fans made their opinions heard about the King’s particular mature taste in talent, leading to a soon deleted tweet. He wrote:
“Keep talking about my squad, our personnel ages, the way he plays, he stays injured, we’re past our time in this league, etc etc etc. Do me one favor PLEASE!!!! And I mean PLEASE!!! Keep that same narrative ENERGY when it begins! That’s all I ask.”
LeBron James, Twitter
I have three theories why LeBron deleted that tweet.
- He was staring at the bottom of a Lobos 1707 tequila bottle and thought, ‘The hell with it’ then realised he got Russell Westbrook, not Ben Simmons!
- By deleting the tweet, it makes his message more memorable… I guess?
- For someone who doesn’t pay attention to the ‘haters’, he got called out on his bluff and in fact did not want that same narrative ENERGY.
But two names yet to be mentioned might change the entire course of the season. Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis are too immense talents, but uniquely enough, they don’t play like their age. Davis sometimes looks like the oldest guy in a YMCA gym, taking that extra 15 seconds to get up after a fall. But imagine someone playing their younger brother on a mini-ring after their mother says the winner gets to move into the biggest room in the house. That someone is Russell Westbrook.
So I’m going out on a limb here and saying that the cruise control antics that Davis sometimes dishes out, might not fly on Westbrook’s best shot at his first title. In fact, Davis being one of the youngest players on the team means he can’t have another year of regressing statistics. Not under any circumstances. Because provided they could pull it off, they would slot into no.3 on this legendary list.
Top 5 oldest teams to ever win the title.
5. 2006-07 Spurs.
Greg Popovich. Tim Duncan. Four championships in 8 years. What else is there to say?
4. 1996-97 Chicago Bulls.
Scientists found championship DNA in Jordan’s and Pippen’s blood. At that point, they ran the 90’s.
3. 1968-69 Boston Celtics
The last championship ever of the greatest dynasty in sport’s history.
2. 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks
I forgot what happened this year? But LeBron’s name comes to mind…
- 1997-98 Chicago Bulls
See under 4.
LeBron James has a tall task ahead of him. As with every day that ticks by and every unfortunate injury that will inevitably hit, the pressure of championship or bust gets louder. Deleted tweets or not, the age of this team is a serious factor. A factor that has only been conquered by some of the best - in extraordinary circumstances.