Among NBA players, two guys in particular stand out for their advanced age: Miami Heat big man Juwan Howard and Kurt Thomas of the Portland Trail Blazers. Both men are 39, which might not seem terribly old, but the sheer fact that they've been on TV for so long makes them seem positively ancient. Their presence in a game is an event, in the same way that an octogenarian running a marathon is an event. They deserve respect simply for showing up.
Denver Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried is 17 years younger than Thomas, but on Wednesday night he showed little respect for his elders. Just a few minutes into the game, Faried and Thomas battled for a loose ball along the baseline. Faried jumped to save it, but in doing so accidentally kicked Thomas in the head. He suffered an injury, too — a mild concussion that, given the league's new concussion policy, could keep him out for real games.
Faried almost certainly didn't mean to kick Thomas intentionally. Nevertheless, the blow does reinforce that, at just seven months shy of 40, Thomas is playing a game meant for much younger men. There are occupational hazards that few people his age have to contend with. When Thomas comes back from this concussion, it'll just be another testament to his toughness.