2011-2012 NBA season Primer: The Most Important Storyline You Haven’t Read Yet

Have you heard the important questions of the upcoming NBA season? Here’s a quick rundown of the ones I’ve been reading about:

How will the shortened season affect the players?
Can the Clippers replace the Lakers as the best LA team?
Can the Mavs repeat or will we see a new champion?
How long will this “Metta World Peace” thing last before it’s played out?
Does anyone in this “weak” rookie class deserve Rookie of the Year?
Will this be the year that the Big Three win a title?

It’s a great time of the year to be creating news based on speculation.

But there’s one super important story that most NBA writers have missed. A story vital to the constitution up SpreeGoogs. A story 17 years in the making. Who will be the last NBA JAM: Tournament Edition player to remain active in the Association?

Whose knees will give out first? My money's on Kidd outlasting Hill.

The original 1994 edition of NBA JAM: TE had more than 150 players accessible, and at tipoff to tomorrow’s first game, there will only be two still remaining on NBA rosters – Jason Kidd and Grant Hill.

Kidd and Hill have been a pair of star-crossed competitors since the ’94-’95 season in which they split the Rookie of the Year award. Two historic players writing their own ways into the record book across three decades. And it’s not like the two are just barely hanging on, sitting at the end of a bench somewhere while mentoring younger players and being the veteran presence in the locker room; they both start for their teams (Kidd for the Mavericks and Hill for the Suns); Kidd even won an NBA championship last year.

Both of these players can make a solid case for the Hall of Fame when they decide to hang it up, but for right now, and we should appreciate the twilight of these two outstanding careers. At SpreeGoogs, we’ll be celebrating the last faint links between the glorious days of yesteryear and the present.

The path from the NBA JAM: TE Rookies team to the present has been very different for our last Jammers standing. Kidd has been a consistent force, one of the league’s top point guards for more than 15 years. Hill has had more of an up-and-down career, riddled with injuries, team changes and question marks. Rumor has it that his knees haven’t contained any actual bone since 2004, but are held in place by a super-compressed pocket of air, resulting from the 2003 implosion of his ankles. Scientifically, it’s a miracle that Grant Hill’s legs still support the weight of a basketball, let alone his upper body.

However they got here, we’ve enjoyed the ride. As long as Kidd and Hill are active, the NBA can be just as special to me now as it was in the mid-’90s glory days. The race to be the Last Jammer Standing will be covered closely on this blog throughout the season. I hope it’s covered for the next 10 seasons. That way, I can keep pretending that my basketball-textured Trapper Keeper is cool.