NBA

After playing for his 13th franchise, Denver’s Ish Smith is on the verge of conquering his first NBA title

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It seems like Ish Smith‘s 13th basketball club will finally be the one that earns him an NBA Championship, as the Nuggets are on the verge of reaching their first ever league title as they lead the final series 3-1 against the Heat.

The 34-year-old currently holds the record for having played for the most amount of teams in league history, during his 13-year career. As a professional, Smith has participated in two G-League spells, suffered six releases and was part of seven trades.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t appeared as much as he’d like representing the Denver squad this season, as the athlete hasn’t even played a minute in these NBA Finals against Miami.

“When you can have veterans that are truly selfless and not worried about, ‘Hey, I’m not in the playoff rotation,’ but they’re still invested in the team and the team’s success and they’re willing to use their voice in a positive manner, that is really impactful,” his coach Michael Malone said.

However, this doesn’t mean he hasn’t helped the Nuggets this campaign, as he appeared in 43 matches this regular season. In the tournament overall, he’s averaged 2.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 9.3 minutes per contest.

Even his current rival Kyle Lowry, who at one point in his career shared the same Rockets locker room with Smith, understands the importance of his role in any team.

“He’s a guy who persevered. Wasn’t the greatest shooter, wasn’t the greatest this, but he just found a way to find a niche in this league and find a niche on every single team he’s been on,” Lowry said. “And to be a great veteran, a great veteran presence, a great positive vibe for every team he’s played for.

“Thirteen teams is a lot of teams, but obviously he’s done his job. He’s done something correct.”

Before Denver, the veteran had played for nearly half of the league’s franchise. First he started in Houston, then jumped to Memphis, Golden State, Orlando, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Detroit, Washington and Charlotte.

When asked about how fundamental the team’s veterans are for his club, Serbian star Nikola Jokic says it’s all about healthy communication and feedback.

“When they talk, everybody listens because if you listen to them, you can hear some really smart things that can help you play the game,” the big man assured. “I really appreciate and am really thankful for them.”

If Smith lifts the NBA trophy, he promises to pay homage to all the players who have shared courts with him as a professional

“That just feels narcissistic, like me celebrating me,” Smith admitted when asked about how it would feel to conquer the league title.

Take a look at his best highlights from this current 2022/23 campaign in the video below:

The 34-year-old wants to celebrate all the players who have played alongside him in the NBA, and promises to create themed walls in his home with all the jerseys he’s represented, as well as one that will honor his days playing in college in North Carolina.

The most special wall in his home will be the one dedicated to the championship, he told the press, which will include all the players from the Nuggets roster.

“It’s been fun. I can’t even lie to you. You usually don’t say that when you’re not playing and you’re in a leadership role,” Smith said. “It’s truly been fun.”