Mike Conley on Lack of Respect: 'It's Gotten More Frustrating as I Get Older'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley handles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Memphis Grizzlies veteran point guard Mike Conley is in the midst of perhaps his best NBA season, and he is still searching for the respect he feels he deserves.

In an interview with The Athletic's Michael Lee, Conley talked about how a lack of All-Star nods and awards has led to frustration:

"It's gotten more frustrating as I get older. I'm 31 now. I'm 12 years in. At some point, you know the game will have to end for you. Hopefully, it's seven, eight years from now, but at the end of the day, when I look back on it, and all that I've accomplished in my career and you think about all of those things and there are so many missed opportunities for recognition, in different ways. And that’s been eating at me, for a while."

Conley appeared in just 12 games last season due to injury, but he has bounced back this season to average a career-high 21.1 points, 6.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Conley has never been named an All-Star during his 12-year NBA career, and he expressed to Lee that he believes it changes the way outside observers view him:

"I look for respect and to try to earn the respect of a lot of people. If you make the All-Star team and you get the label next your name, for whatever reason, people will think, 'Oh, yeah, he's good now.' But if you don't have it, it's, 'Well, he's never made it, he's never done anything, so why would you think he's any better than this guy or the next guy.' It kind of keeps me under this glass ceiling that I'm trying to bust through."

Conley has the Grizz off to a surprising 14-9 start and based on his impressive numbers, he may be well on his way to the first All-Star selection of his career.

While Conley's stats haven't always jumped off the page, he has contributed to some of the greatest successes in the history of the Grizzlies franchise.

Memphis has reached the playoffs seven times during Conley's tenure, and it went all the way to the Western Conference Finals in 2013.

Aside from a spot on the 2012-13 NBA All-Defensive Second Team, however, individual honors have eluded him.

There is no denying the fact that he is the driving force behind Memphis' solid start this season along with center Marc Gasol, and if he continues to perform at his current level, it will be difficult for fans and analysts alike to ignore him any longer.

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