San Antonio Spurs Antonio McDyess has experienced it all in the NBA during his 14 seasons.
He has experienced the best of times such as going to the NBA finals in 2005, and being named an All-Star in 2001.
He has also experienced the worst of times like the repeated knee injuries and more importantly, not capturing an NBA championship.
Before entering this season, McDyess said this will be his final hurrah in the NBA, and barring any last minute change of mind, he is taking all the lessons learned throughout his career and imparting his wisdom to the younger players on the Spurs team.
In 2005 with the Detroit Pistons, McDyess finally tasted the NBA Finals when he faced his current team. It was a thrilling seven game series where the Spurs captured their third NBA title. The NBA title eluded McDyess once again.
Now with the Spurs having the league’s best record, and with championship hopes riding high, McDyess knows to temper any premature excitement.
“It’s looking good,” said McDyess when asked about how his championship hopes are shaping up with the Spurs this season. “But as you know and I know, the regular season really don’t mean a thing once you go to the playoffs. You can have the best record and just because you got the home stand doesn’t mean like you can’t lose.”
This is true and the Spurs can also learn from franchise experience. In 1995 the Spurs had the NBA’s best record but ran into a hot Houston Rockets team in the playoffs and title hopes quickly vanished.
Same goes for McDyess when he was with the Detroit Pistons.
“I been in a situation in Detroit and we had the best record in the league and still didn’t pull it out to get a championship, so we got to continue to stay hungry and focused,” said McDyess.
Staying hungry and focused. Two keys to any march to the NBA Finals. Players may let premature thoughts of champagne flowing and parades in June cloud their focus.
However, McDyess knows to temper such thoughts and makes it a point to impart his experience to the younger Spurs.
“I know from history first hand and I’m pretty sure Tim (Duncan) also knows how it goes and Pop being the coach. But for the young players, I think you just got to continue to put it in their head to stay focused and continue to stay hungry because anything can happen,” said McDyess.
And his 14 seasons of experience continue to reinforce the point to never rest on his laurels because anything can happen. Something McDyess knows all to well.
“I’m a veteran. I know how it goes,” said McDyess. “It happens year-in and year-out with teams that think they can go all the way because they got the best record. But in the end it never figures out the way you want it to be.”
If McDyess uses what he has seen in the NBA throughout his 14 seasons, then history is on his side.
Just like Spurs legend David Robinson announced his retirement before the 2003 championship season, as did McDyess this season, then hopefully for McDyess history will find a way of repeating itself.
Then it will be McDyess who will be hoisting the elusive trophy he has spent his career chasing.