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Eric Walden: NBA Draft's focus on youth proves painfully ironic

Published June 29, 2013 4:37 pm

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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Back when I was about to turn the big 3-0, I spent a few unnecessarily worrisome days fixating upon whether the milestone birthday qualified me as "old" and should signal an official end to any remaining youthful exuberances on account of their becoming unbecoming.

But then I rationalized that my relative youth could be granted a stay of execution until the conclusion of my mid-30s — a decision arrived at with minimal internal debate, by the way — and the heretofore dreaded day subsequently lost any sway over my mood.

It was my own personal "Labyrinth" moment, as though I got to tell David Bowie, "You have no power over me!"

However, while The Duke did not, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glen Rice Jr. apparently do.

Though the birthday that will transition me from "mid-30s" to "late-30s" status remains a few months away, Thursday night's NBA Draft effectively equaled a gubernatorial decision not to make a call to spare me.

Yup, I feel old now.

It wasn't a completely instantaneous switch. After all, as Axl Rose notes in the Guns N' Roses song "Coma": "There were always ample warnings/There were always subtle signs."

Like, for instance, last year marking the respective 25-year anniversaries of my favorite rock album of all time (not coincidentally, GN'R's "Appetite for Destruction") and my favorite ever NBA game (the Lakers' NBA Finals Game 6 defeat of the Celtics at the Great Western Forum).

25 years?! Really?!

Or, for instance, every other NBA Draft between that '87 season and now, in which I gradually came to be older than the players hearing their names called.

Maybe, perhaps, failing those, my son being just a year away from getting his driver's license should have been the flashing neon sign to fully alert me to the precariousness of my situation.

Those all should have done it.

And yet, it wasn't until David Stern announced Hardaway Jr. at No. 24 and Adam Silver announced Rice Jr. at No. 35 on Thursday that my fate was sealed.

Notice the "Jr."s at the end of their names?

Yeah. I remember Stern announcing Glen Rice (Sr.) at No. 4 and Tim Hardaway (Sr.) at No. 14, respectively, in the 1989 Draft.

Two of my favorite players from my youth …

Now both have sons playing in the NBA.

Yup, I feel old now.

I'm sure, somehow, David Bowie is to blame, getting his revenge upon me all these years later.

ewalden@sltrib.com