AS one of the senior citizens in the coming 2013-14 NBA season, Houston Rockets center Marcus Camby believes he is nearing the end — not of his career but of the chase for an NBA ring.
“Been around for 18 years and I haven’t won a championship, that’s what drives and keeps me going and keeps me want to play,” Camby told Spin.ph before the team hit practice for Thursday’s first-ever preseason game in the country against the Indiana Pacers at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Camby is confident the Rockets are capable of getting the job done this coming season after the team successfully lured All-Star center Dwight Howard their fold in the biggest free agent move in the off-season.
“Every time you start a new season, the goal is always to win a championship. I think we have the pieces to get it done. But in saying that, it’s a very hard thing to do,” he said.
Camby was drafted second overall by the expansion team Toronto Raptors in 1996 behind Allen Iverson, who was picked by the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the 1999 season, while playing for New York, Camby came within three victories of winning his first-ever NBA title while filling in for the injured star center Patrick Ewing in the Finals. The Knicks
fell to the San Antonio Spurs, 4-1 in the 1999 NBA Finals, though New York became the first eighth-seeded squad in league history to reach the championship round.
Now 39, Camby is raring to get back in action. And while the West remains strong with the presence of defending conference champion San Antonio Spurs as well as the Kevin Durant-led Oklahoma City Thunder, Camby feels the Rockets are close to ending a 19-year NBA title drought this coming season.
“For us, it’s always about putting the chemistry on the court and find James (Harden), Jeremy (Lin) and Dwight and the other guys to make this work. Also (we need) to stay healthy, that’s the first thing we
need,” he added.
The 6-foot-11 Camby, a Houston resident for the last 15 years, said he has never seen the city this excited.
“It’s great. I’ve lived in Houston for the last 15 years. Just walking around the city and see the excitement of the city, everybody is excited to see Dwight in town and expecting great things from him. Hopefully, we get things accomplished this year,” said the 2006-2007 NBA Defensive Player of the Year after averaging a league-best 3.3 blocks and a fifth-best 11.7 rebounds per contest while playing for
the Denver Nuggets.
Camby is coming off career-lows of 1.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 24 games for the New York Knicks last season.