Athletes get old.
Despite people like Brett Favre and Jamie Moyer who vehemently deny the existence of this phenomenon, age generally has a direct effect on performance. The notion could be understood in terms of a parabola. Once a player hits the top of their athletic prime (generally between the ages of 26-31), their ability to maintain previous talents becomes more difficult than sitting through your four-year-old daughter's three-hour dance recital.
Like once mega-popular bands victimized by a new generation of music, there are basketball players struggling to hold on to their glory days littered all over the league.
It's sad to see these players fall from grace. Allen Iverson, for example, a surefire future Hall of Famer and perennial All-Star, is currently unable to find work due to his declining talents.
Many of these players still believe they have some fuel left in the tank. Sometimes, however, it's just painful to see these once dominant players struggle in such wilting fashion.
For both their sakes and ours, it may be best just to ship them overseas. With rumors of A.I. potentially balling in the far east, here are the top 10 players we wish we could just send to China.
Detroit's newest swingman is looking to revive his career with this struggling franchise.
Not too long ago, T-Mac was among one of the league's brightest stars, the face of the Houston and Orlando franchises. A few injuries later and a lackluster stint with the Knicks, McGrady enters this season as a has-been of decades past.
For his career, T-Mac has averaged 21.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg. In 24 games with the Knicks last year, he averaged a meager 9.4 points per contest, and complied only 3.7 rpg.
His numbers have been steadily declining the past three years. Although only 31 years of age, McGrady entered the league straight out of high school, giving his body 13 years of wear and tear. Consider that as a youngster, McGrady was less developed than some of his bruising NBA counterparts.
Is McGrady done? Only time will tell. But as we already know, time is not really on T-Mac's side.
Not too long ago, Ben Wallace was one of the most feared defenders in all of basketball. Despite his lackluster offensive skills, Big Ben used his incredible rebounding and shot blocking abilities to his advantage, making his 6'9" frame seem more like 7'2".
After signing a rather hefty contract with Chicago in 2006, Wallace has gradually lost his intimidating mystique. His numbers dropped with the Bulls, and he was traded to the Cavaliers after two seasons. As a Cav, Wallace was moved to the power forward position, causing another drop in his stats.
Wallace is now back with the Pistons. He was a starter last year upon his return to Detroit, but his paltry offensive production (5.5 ppg) combined with his declining rebounding numbers suggest that Wallace isn't exactly going to turn heads with his play.
You probably have forgotten by now, but Joe Smith was once the number one pick in the NBA draft.
Smith never lived up to the hype surrounding his selection, but he shouldn't be considered a complete bust. The NBA journeyman has put together a serviceable career, with lifetime averages of 11.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg.
The former Terp is probably the most qualified player to venture overseas, simply due to his travel experience in the states. Smith is more or less a real life Carmen San Diego, as he is now with his eleventh NBA team.
A few weeks back, he signed a deal with the New Jersey Nets. With talks of the franchise moving to Brooklyn, Smith should feel right at home.
As a Knicks fan, I was thrilled when the franchise traded for Antonio McDyess at the 2002 NBA Draft. A star back then, McDyess was supposed to reinvigorate a stumbling franchise.
Through injuries and poor play in only 18 games for New York, McDyess' stint in the Big Apple was what one would generally classify as a "fiasco." He was traded to the Suns a year later and has never been able to regain his star status.
That may have been eight years ago, but people don't forget.
Truth be told, I find it simply astounding that McDyess is still in the league. If he was in decline back then, what stage of "old and washed up" could he possibly be in now?
He's only 36 years of age, but it seems like he's been in the NBA since the Reagan Administration.
I'll keep this one short.
It'd be downright stupid for Curry not to play in China. He'd be double the size of everyone.
Another journeyman, Hughes has played for seven different NBA teams over his 12-year NBA career.
Hughes was once a borderline All-Star and averaged over 20 points a game in a season with the Washington Wizards. Since that 2004-2005 campaign, however, Hughes' numbers have steadily declined. Last year, Hughes averaged only 9.1 points per contest.
Hughes is increasingly becoming dead weight. His injuries seem to have caught up with him, as the less agile Hughes has yet to land a deal with a squad for this season. Although Hughes could definitely provide a spark off the bench for a team lacking in backcourt depth, he lacks the upside and longevity of younger players with similar talents.
The Shaq of college in his years at UNC Chapel Hill, Haywood never really translated his dominating talents to the professional level.
For the majority of his NBA career, Haywood could generally be compared to the guy who sits on the panel during the board meeting, but doesn't actually say anything. In other words, he's there, he has the credentials to be there, but he doesn't necessarily make a tangible difference.
With the exception of his rookie season, Haywood has averaged between six to 11 ppg every year during his nine-year career. The pure definition of mediocre, this big fella may have better success overseas.
The six-time All-Star is well beyond his glory days with the Indiana Pacers. A constant feature on various "does he have anything left in the tank?" articles throughout this offseason, O'Neal's presence on this list was inevitable.
It will be interesting to see how he fares with Boston. His time with Miami proved that O'Neal is certainly on the decline, averaging only 13.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg last season. Likely taking a lesser role as a Celtic, his level of play relative to other aging superstars will likely determine how much time O'Neal gets to see on the court.
Like Hughes, he's only 31. However, making the leap from high school to the NBA certainly didn't do him any favors at this stage of his career. After fourteen seasons in the NBA, he's bound to have accumulated quite the collection of nicks and bruises.
For many fans of Philadelphia sports, Elton Brand is a bigger sore thumb than Terrell Owens, the New York Mets, and Daniel Snyder combined.
Well, that might be an overstatement. Still, Brand's welcome back to Philly has been more worn out than the tires on a 1979 Oldsmobile. In case you were wondering, that was the same year as this ex-Blue Devil was born.
Brand's contract has proved to be extremely prohibitive on the franchise, and Brand's on-court performance isn't doing him any favors. His career numbers of 19.1 ppg and 9.7 rpg seem like more of a mirage than anything, as last year's 13.1 ppg and 6.1 rpg show Brand's star power is dwindling.
For the well being of the city Philadelphia, it may be best for Brand to "take his talents" to the far East.
If A.I. is to have any future in the NBA, he's going to have to eat his words and "come off the bench."
The 11-time All-Star, 2001 NBA MVP, four-time scoring champion, and three-time NBA all first teamer is hitting a severe road block in his Hall of Fame career. After a tumultuous 2009-2010 campaign, during which Iverson was in Memphis for 5 minutes, Philadelphia for half an hour, and out of the league for the rest of the season, Iverson currently has no NBA suitors.
At 35, it's safe to say that Iverson is well beyond his electrifying days of the early-mid 2000's. Although A.I. is arguably the toughest player to play in the past decade, he is also among one of the most beaten up. Combine that aspect with his undersized 6'0" frame, and you've got yourself one tough sell. Not to mention, Iverson's attitude has never been what one would consider exemplary.
To preserve the legacy of his career, it may be best for both Iverson and the NBA fan base to see him move elsewhere.