Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace pulled out the “you never won a championship” card on TNT analyst and NBA legend Charles Barkley, who apparently called the Lakers an old team.
It’s understandable that Metta, now 33 years-of-age, would feel offended by whatever Barkley may have said – the man has a way of getting into players’ heads by sharing his thoughts without sugarcoating anything.
In terms of using age as the reason for the downfall of the Lakers, it’s hard to agree with Barkley’s logic. Steve Nash’s broken leg, two games into the season, had nothing to do with age. Kobe Bryant’s Achilles tear was also a freak incident – and perhaps overuse – but to call it age related? The double standard of saying Kobe is ageless when he plays well versus saying he was injured because he is old is comical. He either defies age, or he doesn’t.
The team also struggled while Dwight Howard looked like a shell of himself for much of the season due to offseason back surgery, and saw a young Jordan Hill miss much of the season with an injury of his own. Combine those factors with the lack of quality players coming off the bench (Chris Duhon comes to mind) and not having a chance to gel as a team from start to finish? It’s not hard to see why the Lakers struggled.
As for Metta saying the Spurs are older, that’s not really true, either. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are certainly getting up there in age – they are 37 and 35 respectively – but Tony Parker is only 30, Tiago Splitter is 28 and there is a blend of youth and athleticism in the starting lineup with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. If it wasn’t for the recent signing of Tracy McGrady, there would only be two other players – Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw – that exceeds the age of 30 in the rotation.
Simply put, stating age as the reason for the success or failure of either team is oversimplifying the situation.