The NBA has seamlessly ushered in its new young stars right before our very eyes. While a machine-like Vince Carter has indicated that he will be back for his 22nd season, his peers have gracefully bowed out of professional competition. With Dirk Nowitzki confirming his retirement before his last regular season home game of the 2018-19 season, Carter will be the sole player remaining that was drafted in the ’90s.
Carter (42), the former All-Star and current mentor, has embraced providing young locker rooms with veteran leadership. Look no further than this past season with the Atlanta Hawks. Their second oldest player? Mile Plumlee at a modest 30 years of age.
As we move toward the end of the 2010’s decade, we’ve been blessed with witnessing things for the first time. From freak athletes who can do it all, to shooting from 30+ feet, the NBA has seen a unique revolution. A league that lustered for the next Michael Jordan saw a smooth transition to Kobe Bryant. This was immediately followed by a monstrous entrance by LeBron James.
With an aging James, and newly retired Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, we’re witnessing the heavy hitters on the early 2000s slowly vanish from the game we love. Even Carmelo Anthony, who played just 10 games with the Houston Rockets this season seems to be on his way out.
Father time is undefeated, but as acts grow older we must continue to welcome in new dominance.
Looking at the current final four of the NBA Playoffs, we have a slew of elite players — Giannis Antetokounmpo (24), Kawhi Leonard (27), Damian Lillard (28), CJ McCollum (27), Kevin Durant (30), Stephen Curry (30). In that short group alone, we have multiple Finals MVP’s in addition to regular season MVP’s. Although many older fans hold a tight grip on “their era” being the best, there’s no denying the talent that has emerged.
Talent in the NBA is historically divided into two categories when discussing memorable individuals — good players, and all-timers. The league is currently showcasing all-timers that are constantly challenging records made by your favorite players.
How about the potential First Team All-NBA candidates this year?
Durant, Curry and James Harden have likely already cemented themselves as basketball legends. If Nikola Jokic and Antetokounmpo continue their current pace, they will add themselves to the fray in due time.
With advanced technology, more film watching, and human evolution, we can only anticipate seeing more incredible things to come. You can hang your hat on the superstars of your generation. However, do acknowledge that the new school has made a loud entrance and will continue to make noise.