My Radio

My attempts to channel what's playing on the many stations of my mind

Comparing The Different Eras Of NBA Basketball

Posted by and1grad on August 22, 2011

Been a while since I’ve blogged anything. Wasnt sure I would again but got the urge again because of something lingering in my mind.

Stumbled across the 1972 NBA All Star Game tonight while bored & flipping through channels. VERY interesting game…for several reasons. The initial reason I’d decided to watch is that I’ve never really seen Jerry West play…beyond some kind of 5 second clip anyway. That fact is crazy to me given that the guy is the inspiration for the NBA logo. I honestly dont think the NBA puts forth enough of an effort on showing people the games of generations past. Wonder why that is.

While watching, the first thing that stood out to me was how fast the players were. You always hear/read folks talking about how today’s athletes are so far beyond those of past generations. Personally, I always knew those writers/analysts were putting 20 on 10 with that rhetoric but I didnt realize how blatantly false it is. If you watch games of the 80s, you can CLEARLY see that the game is significantly faster and entertaining than today’s game. I saw the same thing in this all star game. If that game is indicative of the 70s era of basketball, and I suspect it is, I’m inclined to think the era of basketball we watch now may be the worst so far. That sounds like an incredible statement, right? Watch some of the older games. You’ll see it.

It was also really interesting to me to see how much more well-rounded the players in that all-star game were as opposed to that of today’s stars. In fact, it was almost jarring. Players that played well on both sides of the court. Good rebounders that were able to score…outside of the paint. Guys that could create their own shot didnt seem rare as it does now. NBA seems like a specialists’ league now. Guys can pretty much be categorized as scorers, shooters, passers, defenders, rebounders, & hacks. I also dont see a lot of double teaming. The reasons for this can go a number of ways. Either you believe players are SO good now that they cant be guarded by one person (I dont) or that players stink defensively now (somewhat)…or that the officiating has changed significantly. I think its part of the last 2. In the old games that I’ve seen, I cant say I think the officiating has been SIGNIFICANTLY different. I think players just played better defense. That said, I never bought (and never will buy) that hand-checking made THAT much difference in playing defense. It reeks of copout. And anyone who actually plays defense in any level of basketball knows that your feet are exponentially more important on defense as your hands are. Hand checking & reaching are among the last resorts of a player that has, for the most part, already been beaten on defense.

Another, seemingly minor, thing I’ve noticed in some of these games is how much more often I see players from the opposite team pick up another player they fouled and knocked to the ground. For some reason, in the current era of the NBA, that is rarely done. Thats always been odd and INCREDIBLY wack to me. Knock a guy down and walk away so that only his teammates can help him up. Or that players will RUSH to the knocked down guy and shove the player out of the way before he can even attempt to help him up. That shit’s stupid to me.

(Sidenote: I just watched Magic fake a behind the back dribble with a subtle pause while going almost full speed down the court…without carrying. MAN that guy was a GREAT GREAT GREAT player. People just dont understand, man. THEY JUST DONT UNDERSTAND!!!)

Another interesting and glaring thing I noticed about this all star game (1972) is that the lineups seem to be evenly split between white & black players. For pretty much as long as I can remember, the NBA has been DOMINATED by black men. Even as I watch this 1983 Finals game, the lineups of the Sixers & Lakers, respectively, are almost exclusively black with the exception of 2 or 3 white players. Lets say there 25% of the active players are white. A few weeks ago, I watched the 1987 All Star Game and I cant say there were up to 5 white players in the game at all. Think I might touch on that in a different blog.

Anyway, my point is that I think we have a lesser brand of basketball, in general, now than that of the previous generations. I think if you watch some of these hardwood classic games, you’ll come up with the same conclusion.


2 Responses to “Comparing The Different Eras Of NBA Basketball”

  1. jeff said

    Great post. I remember for a while in the early 90s it would be a major feat if a team busted 100 points in a regulation NBA game. Actual playing defense turned into mauling, grabbing, and hand checking that slowed the game down and made it look sloppy. But yes the 80s might of been the best live basketball this generation might see.

  2. jeff said

    Oops I meant 70s basketball. I also think the ABA was significant in elevating the level of play in that decade.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: