When a retired NBA player wants to speak their mind on an issue in today’s league or even during their time in the NBA, people are going to listen. Who wouldn’t? These guys have been around the game, spoken to some of the greatest NBA players of all time, and are certain to have some interesting stories and opinions to tell.
While some of that may be true, many retired players have taken their title too far with strong opinions that have no foundation. It’s not just one retired player either. There are plenty to choose from.
Now, I will leave this as a disclaimer: there are definitely players who have done the opposite and shown their credibility with detailed takes and great reasoning for these takes.
J.J. Redick, in his post-playing career, has been a great example of a player-analyst and should serve as a model for how players should give their opinion after their career has ended. Regardless of whether you disagree with Redick’s takes or not, he has given great reasons for his opinions that are completely reasonable. Unlike players like Pierce who seem to give little to no backing to their arguments, Redick is able to show his knowledge of the game in a reasonable manner.
Unfortunately, however, there are many players who don’t feel the need to give reasonable logic to their arguments and fail to follow the path of players like Redick.
Take former all-star guard Gilbert Arenas for example. During Agent 0’s NBA career, he was known to have a fiery personality on the court and that has directly translated to his post-basketball career where he’s spoken on the current landscape of basketball on his podcast, “No Chill.” However, just because you’re willing to speak your mind on a topic doesn’t mean the argument is great. When Arenas talked about former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and said he doesn’t know basketball, I stood in amazement. A former two time MVP and multi-time all-star doesn’t understand the game of basketball? However, it gets even worse. Arenas took it a step further and said, despite all of Antetokounmpo’s accomplishments throughout his time in the NBA, that the 27 year old doesn’t know how to be great.
Despite Antetokounmpo’s legendary development throughout his time in the NBA and leading his team to a championship, Arenas stood by his take. Despite Antetokounmpo continuing to get better whether that was improving his jumpshot or enhancing his playmaking, Arenas still felt the need to say this preposterous statement.
As stated previously, Arenas isn’t the only former player who has felt the need to comment on the current state of basketball. I could choose plenty of players as examples, whether that’s Kendrick Perkins, Ryan Hollins, or others.
Some of the worst NBA takes have all been said by one player, and that’s Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce. Whether it’s having personal bias for himself or having a vendetta against players like Lebron James, Pierce’s takes have had NBA fans confused and befuddled. Pierce’s horrendous opinions have ranged from saying the 2019 first round series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics was already decided after one game to saying Lebron James is not a top 5 player of all time after seeing The Last Dance, a documentary based on the life and career of NBA great Michael Jordan.
Why is this such a big problem? Imagine you’re a casual fan and you want to learn more about the game of basketball through the eyes of players or analysts. You turn on an episode of a show like “First Take” and you see none other than one of the key reasons why retired players are losing their credibility post-retirement, Kendrick Perkins.
The NBA has players in their post-retirement age giving out opinions that are simply preposterous and it leaves many fans wondering which players to take seriously. Does this player have a vendetta against another? Do they really believe what they are saying?
It’s now up to platforms like ESPN and TNT to stop giving these players their platforms to express these horrendous opinions. These platforms should target players or analysts that exhibit knowledge of the game that has a solid foundation. Instead of giving these players an audience simply because of their playing career, fans should place more value to the arguments of these players.