Each stop during the veteran guard's 19-year career has featured a different version of himself, he says. Chicago Bulls Crawford is not Portland Trail Blazers Crawford is not Golden State Warriors Crawford is not Los Angeles Clippers Crawford.
Each one had plenty of hits worth replaying, and as the newest member of the Brooklyn Nets explains in a video by the Players' Tribune, the artist remains the same; only the outcome changes. It's how he knows his latest opportunity won't backfire.
"In my heart of hearts, I know I'm still the same player," Crawford, 40, said. "I know at this age you're not supposed to be the same player, but I know I am."
The Players' Tribune @PlayersTribune
.@JCrossover reflects on his basketball journey like a rapper, from his mixtape days to his final album — which he doesn’t plan on dropping any time soon. This is not an encore or a curtain call. This is the Blueprint. 📽️: https://t.co/xnxLvCmv31 https://t.co/maoiLCiv0Z
A three-time winner of the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award, Crawford is hoping he can channel that energy for his short stint with Brooklyn when the NBA restarts this month.
No other organization in the NBA has been forced to adapt on the fly the way the Nets have. Not only has the team navigated a foggy sports landscape as the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge across the country, but in the days leading up to the restart, numerous rotation players have opted out of the season in the midst of a playoff race.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant remain sidelined doing injury rehab, Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan each tested positive for COVID-19, and Wilson Chandler decided to opt out so he could spend more time with his family.
That led to Crawford getting a call to come play ball for the first time this season.
Last year with the Phoenix Suns, Crawford averaged 7.9 points—the lowest since his rookie season in Chicago. Before then, he'd gone 16 consecutive years scoring at least 10 points per game.
He'll get the minutes to prove he's still his old self, and Brooklyn certainly needs him to be just that.
The club is still looking to clinch a playoff spot and make a run in the Eastern Conference. In seventh place and six games clear of the ninth-place Washington Wizards, who also have a depleted roster, the Nets will likely find themselves in the postseason.
If Crawford can play as well as he feels, Brooklyn's bench may not be as barren as previously believed after the slew of opt-outs.