by Jack Maidment
The year of the veteran or the year of the end?
This past off season has seen a passing of the torch of sorts with one generation’s past superstars begrudgingly and without acknowledgement stepping aside to make way for the next.
This means two things. The old guard are gone. Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson are the symbols and their end will in all likelihood be without the fanfare that they still hear in their heads.
Age has caught up with these players who used to sit atop the very pinnacle of basketball excellence. In all three of their respective careers they were, at one point or another the best in the game.
For T-Mac that moment was all too fleeting, the odd game, the odd month. For Iverson and Shaq their shine was more durable, more enduring and they shone the brightest.
The very best.
But now, the dream has died, the fantasy has been lived and it is time to go.
Only one of the three has a job for next year and any chance to start is down to injury and injury only. Would Boston have gambled on O’Neal or for that matter O’Neals had Kendrick Perkins not gone down with a knee injury
As for Iverson and McGrady? The bottom line is that no one wants them. And that has got to be tough. Another season might happen for both, more likely for McGrady than Iverson, but any dreams of a contract without some sort of release clause should things turn pear shaped is pure fantasy.
The second thing is that the time is now for LeBron, Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and all those guys drafted between 2003 and 2008.
The NBA is now theirs. This is their peak, their history. They are now The Generation.
The reality is they now have 5-7 years of gold to make their bid: for wins, for titles, for legacy, for the Hall.
It is time for the changing of the guard.