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Year 17 Success Confirms Age is Just a Number

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Who decided in basketball that you would have to slow down in year 17? For the WNBA and NBA, the commitment to play and provide fans outstanding seasons outside of the norm resulted in three great months of basketball. Fans witnessed how the season inside the bubbles still displayed high-intensity basketball, some of which shocked the basketball world.

 

After months of being away from family and friends, the WNBA and NBA champions are finally here; the Seattle Storm and Los Angeles Lakers.

Sue’s Scintillating Season

Drafted as the No. 1 pick in the 2002 WNBA draft, Sue Bird is the second-oldest player to win a WNBA championship. This is Seattle’s 4th WNBA title, tying the Houston Comets (1997-2000) and Minnesota Lynx (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017). Seattle’s wins weren’t as consistent, as their four rings spread across 16 seasons. The 4x WNBA champion was one of the factors in these wins (2004, 2010, 2018, 2020). 

 

Bird missed all of last season — along with her teammate and finals MVP Breanna Stewart — after undergoing knee surgery to remove a loose body. She was also sidelined for 11 of the 22 games in the shortened 2020 season courtesy of a bone bruise in the same knee. 

Being the oldest player in the league and a veteran for the Storm, the 11x WNBA All-Star came ready to play when the playoffs started, averaging 9.5 points and 9.2 assists per game. Including a WNBA game-record of 16 assists, Bird finished the Finals with 33 assists in three games. 

 

LeBron Finished the Job Too

In his 10th Finals appearance, LeBron James has brought another championship into his legendary career. Like Bird, James earned his fourth ring in Year 17. They both demonstrated what it means to be a great leader to help their teams win a championship.

After missing the playoffs in his first year with the Lakers, he promised Laker Nation that the drought would not last for long and the 16x All-Star delivered his promise against the Miami Heat in the Game 6 clincher. LeBron finished the series averaging 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. 

The now 4x Finals MVP has made history in winning a championship with three different teams (Heat, Cavs, Lakers) all while remaining a perfect 4-for-4 in being Finals MVP, netting his latest with a unanimous 11-0 vote.

LeBron’s dominance since his arrival to the NBA is worthy for praise, especially since he has had this pressure on him since his high school days of being a 16-year-old standout. In Game 6, James finished with his 28th playoff triple-double, trailing only Magic Johnson (30).

What Will Year 18 Have in Store?

Both Bird and James both stated that they still have more to give to win yet another championship. Bird stated that her teammates’ youth keeps her young with the likes of Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd. There will not be a rebuilding stage for the Storm, rather a reloading stage that will have them as title contenders again next season.

As for the “Washed King,” there is no evidence when he will slow down. Just the thought that he could still possibly be in his prime puts the Lakers as the team to beat next season. Another ring, or even a dynasty, isn’t out of the realm with Anthony Davis at the top of his game and the all likelihood of minor upgrades to an already-talented roster.

It would seem there’s only a puzzle piece or two missing to help the Lakers win back-to-back titles.

For the 17-year vets, Year 17 did not slow down and father (and mother) time was pushed aside for two of the greatest players to touch a basketball. Who said you have to slow down because you’re aging like fine wine? Basketball fans should definitely feel excited for what these two elites have in store next season.

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About Myicha Drakeford

Lover of basketball and passion for writing. Getting stories out and enjoying this hobby of mine.

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