Rockets’ Chris Paul taking inspiration from Nene’s work ethic, longevity
It’s always best to soak up all you can get from your team’s grizzled veterans – whether it’s picking their brains or just adding some tools to your growing game. In the case of Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul who’s already an old head himself, there isn’t much to learn any more – except for health and longevity. And who better to draw inspiration from than teammate Nene, who at 36-years-old, is still gritting and grinding as a backup.
Paul recently talked to Marc J. Spears of The Athletic about the self-proclaimed “Last Mohican” of the 2002 NBA Draft and what he taught him.
“It says a lot about Nene that he has played this long,” Paul, 33, told The Undefeated. “And I have had the opportunity to play with a lot of great vets. I played with Paul Pierce in his last year in the NBA. I played with Grant Hill his last year in the NBA. I also had an opportunity to play with ‘Chaunce’ [Chauncey Billups].
“Some things go unsaid at times. But as a teammate, you pay attention. You see it with your eyes. So, with ‘Ne,’ it’s his work [ethic]. He didn’t play in our first two playoff games, but he was in the gym, in the weight room and taking care of his body. As a young player, you may not take notice or pay attention to it. But for someone like me who wants that longevity and wants to continue to play, I have the utmost respect for him.”
Nene is the sole player remaining from his draft class after the premature retirement of Rockets great Yao Ming in 2011 quickly whittled down their class to just three with the most recent retiree being Mike Dunleavy Jr. prior to the season.