Can today’s NBA of 2010-11 ever live up to the past? Has the hard foul completely disappeared?
The hard foul has been systematically removed from the game by the powers that be: David Stern and his NBA henchmen. The hard foul is now old school, talked about like old men at a bar, remembering their glory days.
That’s because guys in the NBA don’t foul like they used to. And, it’s not just because they get fined or suspended. It’s more cream puff now. More "take it easy." They’re all millionaires, so why play tough?
Nothing highlighted this more than two weeks ago when LeBron James and the Miami Heat returned to Cleveland. There the King was with his new team, delivering a beating to the Cavs on national TV. The entire time, LBJ was talking smack.
But nothing happened. As a matter of fact, the Cavs let it get worse. James was even over along the sideline in front of Cleveland’s bench running his mouth. And the Cavs players sat there and took it.
There was no hard foul during the game when LBJ went to the rim. No knockdown on a dunk. No throw-down to the floor. No message to James that said “not in our house.” Or, “between these lines, we come to play.”
So, what has happened to the NBA? Where has the toughness, the killer instinct gone? Why has the assassin’s creed disappeared?
There was a time when a foul was just as critical as a game-winning shot. You sent a message. You prevented a score. You made them earn it on the line, with 16,000 hostile fans screaming against them.
But where have the men gone? This is a league of boys.
What am I talking about? I’m talking plays that mattered, that meant something, that stopped something, that sent that message, that laid the guy out, that stopped the run or changed the tide.
And I’m not talking a fight, a punch, a low blow after the whistle has blown (that's an entirely different slideshow). We’re talking during game action, the clock running and a knock-down foul.
So, here are the top 10 greatest NBA fouls of all time.