Some of the biggest stars in the NBA today have recently voiced support for shortening the 82-game regular season, but the most legendary player in the history of the sport disagrees with that mindset.
According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, former Chicago Bulls superstar and current Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan has a totally different view than Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki of the grueling schedule.
I love both of those guys, but as an owner who played the game, I loved playing. If I wasn't playing 82 games, I still would've been playing somewhere else because that's the love for the game I had. As a player, I never thought 82 games was an issue.
MJ's comments come on the heels of both LeBron and Nowitzki suggesting that cutting the amount of games would be beneficial to the players.
Per Tim MacMahon and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com, Dirk believes that the current NBA slate is a bit excessive.
I think you don't need 82 games to determine the best eight in each conference. That could be done a lot quicker, but I always understand that it's about money, and every missed game means missed money for both parties, for the league, for the owners, for the players. I understand all that and that's why I don't think it's going to change any time soon.
One possible change that the NBA is exploring is shortening games from 48 minutes to 44 minutes. According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the league will test it in a preseason game this weekend:
Jeff Zillgitt @JeffZillgitt
NBA will experiment with a 44-minute game (four fewer minutes than normal) in Sunday’s Nets-Celtics contest: http://t.co/0qIl6xKCrn2014-10-14 15:53:17
King James is of the mind that the amount of games is far more important than the length of them, however, per Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com.
It's not the minutes, it's the games. The minutes don't mean anything. We can play 50-minute games if we had to. It's the games that I think we all as players think is too many games in our season. 82 games are a lot. But it's not the minutes, taking away minutes from the game is not going to shorten the game at all.
His Airness has a different viewpoint regarding the schedule, but he is in agreement with LeBron as it relates to game length, according to Broussard.
"I would never shorten the game by four minutes,'' Jordan said, "unless guys were having physical issues.''
Jordan is willing to discuss the merits of fewer games, but he points out that it will adversely impact the players from a financial perspective, per Broussard.
But if that's what they want to do, we as owners and players can evaluate it and talk about it. But we'd make less money as partners. Are they ready to give up money to play fewer games? That's the question, because you can't make the same amount of money playing fewer games.
Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick also weighed in on the impact of a 44-minute game from a player perspective:
Ethan J. Skolnick @EthanJSkolnick
Coaches will play LeBron, Durant, Carmelo for 36-38 minutes, whether the game is 44 minutes or 48 minutes. Crazy not to. Subs suffer.2014-10-15 22:45:55
It is difficult to imagine the NBA shortening the season, though it will be interesting to see public and player opinion following the 44-minute preseason game experiment.
However, many fans were intrigued during the 2011-12 lockout season, which could offer a slight indication for how a shortened season would look.
As is often the case, this situation seems to predictably place players and owners on opposite sides of the fence.
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