Time’s up: OGs LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have finally been run off the court

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:LeBron James;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">LeBron James</a> (23) of the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Los Angeles Lakers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Los Angeles Lakers</a> reacts to a turnover during the fourth quarter of the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Denver Nuggets;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Denver Nuggets</a>' 108-106 win at Ball Arena on Monday, April 29, 2024, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

OPINION: At least they’ll have a final shot at some international bling before that ship sails as well.

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

The old guys can still ball.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant suffered quick exits from the NBA postseason, but their ability to hoop remains exquisite. They routinely hold their own and more, putting up numbers against players 15 years younger. No one denies that James, Curry and Durant, among all-time greats, are still elite at their craft.

Frankly, it’s amazing how well they continue to play at this stage, with James at 39, Curry, 36, and Durant, 35. They’re our “OG3,” ballers we’ve enjoyed from day one when they arrived with fanfare. But they’re virtually ancient in NBA terms. And it appears their time is up.

The guard has changed, the torch has passed and we’re left with the NBA’s new world order. It’ll take some getting used to, like when Aunt Viv was recast on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and Daphne Maxwell Reid began pushing Janet Hurbert into the recesses of our memory.

At least one of the OG3 had reached the playoffs’ second round every year since 2005. All three of them reached the Finals in 2017 and 2018. But that era has ended with a whimper. Curry and the Golden State Warriors were bounced by Sacramento in the play-in tournament. Durant and the Phoenix Suns were swept by Minnesota in the first round, while James and the Los Angeles Lakers were barely more competitive, ousted in five games by defending champion Denver.

This is unfamiliar territory for fans who grew up watching the OG3 make deep playoff runs over the last 20 years. James reached the NBA Finals in eight consecutive seasons (2010-18) and 10 times overall, roughly half of his career. Curry has been a fixture as well during that span, winning four championships in six trips to the Finals. Durant made it to three Finals with Curry after reaching four Western Conference finals with Oklahoma City.

Now they’ve become the old men in the club. They still have moves and they still got game, but they look out of place amongst the youngsters who want the spot to themselves.

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Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards claims that Durant is his all-time favorite player, but the budding superstar was mad disrespectful during their first-round series. Edwards taunted and jeered his elder, allegedly calling Durant an “old ass nigga” who can’t guard him. It was affectionate trash talk that didn’t damage their relationship and wasn’t taken personally.

“I love everything about Ant, everything,” Durant said Sunday after Edwards dropped 40 points in the close-out game. “… I was really impressed with him. He’s gonna be somebody I’m following for the rest of his career.”

The OG3 better get used to the view of following Edwards, 22, and other emergent MVP candidates like Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and DallasLuka Dončić (both 25). All of them play in the Western Conference, leaving James, Curry and Durant with dim prospects for additional titles. And that’s before we consider 29-year-old Nikola Jokić, who’s expected to win his third MVP award in the last four seasons.

Durant faces a tenuous situation with Phoenix, which has a poorly constructed, top-heavy team after mortgaging its future to acquire him and Bradley Beal. Curry could lose fellow sniper Klay Thompson as Golden State finally retools after unexpectedly winning the championship two years ago. The Lakers are in flux with an embattled head coach, a subpar roster and all eyes on James, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

James’ pending decision is the juiciest drama left for the OG3, which faces long odds against adding another NBA ring to their collection.

At least they’ll have a final shot at some international bling this summer at the Paris Olympics before that ship sails as well.

Durant is looking to become the first player to win four Olympic gold medals in men’s basketball. James is playing in his fourth Olympics, with two golds and a shameful-by-USA-standards bronze on his résumé. Curry is a neophyte who always wanted an Olympic experience but it never worked out before now.

“I think the timing is just right,” Curry told the Associated Press when the team was announced last month. “I’m later in my career. This is probably the last opportunity I have to play. And that made it a much easier decision to say, ‘This makes sense.’”

The OG3 surely won’t be part of the 2028 U.S. Olympic team. We’ll miss them on the world stage as much as we’ll miss them in the NBA playoffs.

They can still ball, true.

But young’uns at last have run them off the court.

Deron Snyder, from Brooklyn, is an award-winning columnist who lives near D.C. and pledged Alpha at HU-You Know! He’s reaching high, lying low, moving on, pushing off, keeping up, and throwing down. Got it? Get more at

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