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NBA

Who is Jamal Crawford and why does his retirement matter?

As Jamal Crawford calls time on his NBA career, we take a look at just who one of the league's greatest ball handlers was and what his departure means.

Update:
As Jamal Crawford calls time on his NBA career, we take a look at just who one of the league's greatest ball handlers was and what his departure means.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Having celebrated his 42nd birthday on Sunday, Crawford joined a select group of players who played past their 40th birthday, but that's not the only surprising thing about the veteran.

Jamal Crawford announces his retirement

It's been quite a few years that the name Jamal Crawford has been considered perhaps the best in the business when it came to NBA reserves. Indeed having been voted 6th Man of the Year on three occassions, Crawford was the bar setter for those who come off the bench for the purpose of impact. Now it seems the curtain is set to come down on what has been a long and consistant career. Indeed on Sunday night Crawford announced his retirement from the professional game after a career that started more than two decades ago. "Goodbye to the game, all the spoils the adrenaline rush. Thank you basketball, I owe you everything," he said in a tweet.

Who is Jamal Crawford?

Drafted back in 2000 by the Chicago Bulls, Crawford has enjoyed a career that has seen him wear the jerseys of a wide variety of teams, which in turn has allowed him to play alongside a plethora of players. Indeed, from the Bulls he would go on to play for the Knicks, Warriors, Hawks, Blazers, Clippers, Timberwolves, Suns and the Nets. Across those two decades he managed to establish himself as the #1 scorer off the bench in the NBA with an average of 14.6 points per game. As far as awards go, those three 6th Man awards - once with the Hawks and twice with the Clippers - weren't the only accolades that he picked up, in fact the Seattle native was even voted the and was even named NBA's Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year in 2018. With that specific 'team player' mentality in mind, its not hard to see how Crawford was able to extend his career far past the point that many others normally would.

For more from the NBA

At 42 years of age Crawford brings to a close one of the longest running NBA careers on record. Just three years ago, when playing with the Phoenix Suns he became the oldest player in NBA history to score 50 or more points - he was 39 years and 20 days at the time. It would actually be his final game for the Suns and at the time it was expected to be his final game in the league, however, he still believed there was fight left in him and in turn managed to secure a stint with the Brooklyn Nets just after his 40th birthday. Here now at the end Crawford will surely hang up his jersey with head held high, as few can claim to have been more consistent or beloved by their team mates than the man they called 'Crawssover Crawford.'

Other notable NBA players to play past 40

As one can imagine playing any professional sport can take a toll on the body, but to do so past the age of 40 is most definitely a feat that deserves recognition. Indeed there haven't been many players to do so but we collected a few names worth mentioning.

Charles Oakley
First off the bat there was Charles Oakley. An enforcer by nature, Oakley came to fame during his time with the New York Knicks. Alongside the likes of Patrick Ewing and John Starks, Oakley was part of a rough and touble New York team that even the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls had many problems with.

Steve Nash
Another name worth mentioning would of course be two time league MVP and current Nets headcoach, Steve Nash. The South African native had an injury plagued career, but that was definitely not enough to derail what would ultimately be a marker for point guards to come. While his last few post 40 games were during a forgettable period with the Lakers, Nash will always be remembered positively for his sensational performances with the Phoenix Suns.

Grant Hill
Once considered the heir apparent to Michael Jordan's throne, Hill almost saw his career come to a premature end due to injuries. In the end, however, the five time NBA All-Star was able to pick himself up and even played in 82 games during the season in which he turned 36 years old. Hill would eventually go on to finish his career with the Suns before hanging up his jersey.

Michael Jordan
While there are other names that could be mentioned, this list would be lacking were the man himself not included. Though his final years in the NBA were unfortunately well below par, Michael Jordan did in fact find life after the dynasty years with the Chicago Bulls. Unable to say goodbye to the game that gave him so much, MJ would go on to play some 30 games post 40 with the Washington Wizards - the team he now owns. His competitive spirit was of course still very much present, but he was no longer the 'Air Jordan' that fans the world over had loved.

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