BOSTON Not a game goes by it seems without a question or two centered around whether Danny Ainge should start to break off some - or all - of the Celtics' Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen.
Few can speak on the subject matter better than Kevin McHale, who was literally in the shoes of Boston's current Big Three near the end of his Hall of Fame career with the Celtics.
"They're playing better than we did," said McHale, referring to himself, Larry Bird and Robert Parish. "At this point in our careers, we were all beaten down, had injuries and all that other stuff which is hard to deal with. It happens to everybody. It's just part of the game."
So is getting old, something McHale admits isn't easy to deal with for some players.
"Getting old in the NBA is not for the meek or the mild," said McHale, who now coaches the Houston Rockets. "Your mind is sharp as it's ever been. Sometimes athletically-wise, you can't do some of the things that you could (do earlier)."
And when that happens, production falls off.
When production falls off, players have to acknowledge their decline which for many, is a tough pill to swallow.
"If you're honest with yourself, you wake up in the middle of the night and go, 'You suck!'" McHale said. "Some people can't do that."
McHale, who spent his entire 14-year career with the Celtics (1980-1993), battled a series of injuries near the end of his career.
"I never appreciated enough guys who just grind themselves to a numb and got little accomplished (near the end of their careers)," McHale said. "I became one of those guys."