With all the talk surrounding Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller lately, I'm pondering this whole comeback thing and whether it's properly focused. In my view the chances of any 40-year old coming back into the league after a few years off are very slim. I can understand why guys would want to lace it up one more time, but it's going to be, at best, a short-lived, low-minute and impact endeavor.
Which got me wondering...do they have to come back to the NBA? Obviously those who are only in it for money would not find much satisfaction anywhere else but the Association, but what if a guy just felt the need to play competitive ball at a high level on a national stage? For those purposes wouldn't the U.S. National Team work just as well?
Our international squad's travails have been well-publicized over the past decade. How long has it been since we actually won a major competition world-wide? Most seem to think our decline relates to the NBA players on the squad who lack fundamentals, smarts, and the time and desire to devote to being a unit. Wouldn't these be attributes that a Pippen, Miller, Stockton, or whoever would have in spades? I'm not saying you could fill the team with ex-NBA geezers and expect to win against 20-something active professionals from other countries, but what about one or two of the old timers? They could be team captains, almost coaches on the court. They could also put in time with other year-long non-NBA players with interest in making the team...college guys or folks from other leagues who might have time to devote to the project. They would work, travel, and play to make the team more cohesive. Maybe you have a hand-picked half dozen active NBA guys, a couple of old timers, and a few assorted others on each National Team, the NBA guys folded in later and all of the others practicing and playing more often. I don't think it could hurt. If you lacked athleticism it's not like those six NBA guys couldn't handle playing almost a whole game on their own. But right now we don't need more duplication of jumping, juking, and dunking, we need some of those other attributes filled in.
The retired guys get their national spotlight. The National Team gets their smarts and extra practice time. It seems like everybody wins.
Just a thought...