Do you have a timetable? Like when you say, ‘I’m done’. Jamal Crawford: I don’t know if I have a timetable but I would think for me, it would probably be at some point next season. Like it may not be the beginning of next season, maybe a team that fighting for the playoffs later on in the season. And at that point, probably if it doesn’t happen, I would probably say, ‘Okay, that’s it’.
Crawford never retired from the game. He just didn’t get on a roster this season. But could he sign with a team if the NBA comes back? “I think so,” said Crawford, who still lives in Seattle. “But if not, I’ll be playing at LA Fitness somewhere, and I’ll have more time to spend with my family.”
Gerald Bourguet: Jamal Crawford said he’s not done and can still play in this league. Confirms the 🏁 was for Nipsey Hussle
At 39, Crawford is still capable of those get-buckets moments. And though he acknowledges his 19th NBA season has not been what “we all envisioned coming into it” — the Suns are 18-60, after all — Crawford remains adamant that he is not contemplating retirement. “Oh, no,” Crawford told The Athletic following Monday’s shootaround. “That’s the part I hate — the perception because of how things went this year. You may look at the numbers and (see) I’m only taking six shots a game. I think it’s to be applauded (for me to) say, ‘Hey, when I go in, I’m not going to jack up every shot.’
As you mentioned, you’re not young anymore. What do you think has kept you in the league at this point in your career? Jamal Crawford: Love of the game. When you love it, you’ll do anything to play. You’ll foam roll. You’ll (sit in the) cold tub. You’ll stretch. You’ll get massages. You’ll stay in and stay active. You’ll change your diet. You’ll do everything it takes to be out there and try to be at a high level.
Two decades later the 6'5" Crawford still doesn’t play like anybody else, nor does anyone really play like him. He skips as much as runs, his dribble nearing chest height, where coaches teach you not to keep it. When he crosses over, he does so precipitously and with devastating speed. From afar he appears to be all limbs upon which a giant round head bobs, as if the character from those life is good T-shirts came to life. “Damn, you got a lot of juice left in those legs!” Dirk Nowitzki told him last season, and it’s true. He remains in demand. When Crawford became a free agent last summer, the Warriors recruited him. LeBron called: Come to Cleveland. Instead Crawford signed for two years and $8.9 million with Minnesota, a promising team that nonetheless hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004 and whose coach, Tom Thibodeau, is known to be something of a stickler for defense (something that Crawford, it’s fair to say, is not). The match didn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
Towns was 4 years old when Crawford played his first NBA game. That’s 17 years and 1,251 regular-season and playoff games ago, and Crawford vows he’s not nearly done yet. “I feel like 27,” Crawford said. “I feel great, I really do. I take care of myself. I never really get out of shape. I feel I can play another four, five years at this level without a doubt. I feel rejuvenated.”
Crawford will turn 37 in two weeks. But get this: The ageless wonder said he wants to play three or four more seasons. "When you love the game, playing is easy," Crawford said.
"I don't see him in the weight room," Clippers coach Doc Rivers joked. "He plays pickup basketball the entire summer every day. That's all he does. He's like the anti-new generation. He just plays basketball. And he looks younger at times because he does. He keeps his skills so sharp by playing and the love of the game."
March 3, 2021 | 7:27 pm EST Update
Ben Anderson: Doc Rivers on tonight’s game between the @Utah Jazz and @Philadelphia 76ers and the final game in the first half of the regular season. “I don’t know if I look for anything one way or the other. It’s just another game in a long season, but it’s typically a hard game for both teams.”