“Marc is 34, or 30 something, 33,” said Jaren Jackson Jr.
“How old does 34 sound to you?” a reporter asked.
“Old, sounds like he could be my coach or something,” said Jackson.
Then Dillon Brooks jokingly compared Conley to a grandpa.
“As a young baby with a grandma or grandpa, it gives them life. That’s what we do for our Grandpa, Mike and Marc, we just give them life and energy,” said Brooks.
Conley had to respond.
“Oh Dillon, oh Dillon. Somebody save him. We have a lot of fun with the guys as you can see, Dillon speaking out of turn like that. We do take pride in being the older vets,” said Conley.
All jokes aside, 30-somethings Conley and Gasol do hear the naysayers. But the cornerstones of this franchise are eager to prove they are far from their twilight.
“It is motivational for me, to come back and show the world, and wake them up again and understand that I am not that guy from last year who was hobbling around and am feeling great,” said Conley.
“First you earn your teammates respect, that is the first thing you need to do. Show it in practice, everyday, daily, your co-workers. Then you go out there and show the rest of the world. But it’s simple you have to earn it, nothing is given, ever,” said Marc Gasol.
And how does coach J.B. Bickerstaff feel about people questioning his two best players?
“Anybody who says that is wrong and hasn’t paid enough attention to these guys throughout their careers. These two guys, are two of the best players in the NBA hands down,” Bickerstaff said.
“They are both very talented unselfish players, two of the main reasons I came here in the first place. I think they are okay with low expectations and so is the team, we are okay with flying under the radar,” said Chandler Parsons.
This isn’t just a story line coming into the season, meshing the energy of the young guns and the knowledge of the vets will be a story all season long. And it’s something they will get to work on starting tomorrow at day one of training camp.