If there is one fact in sports that we all know and believe, it is this; basketball will never be the same again. Standing by that fact, the game has evolved in multiple ways, and will continue to evolve over time.i Humans themselves are getting taller, faster, and stronger. Medical advances have made staying healthy better and recovering from injury more rapidly. These are all great facts, but there are some cons. Especially if you're an old school guy like me, I'm sure you've noticed the difference between the game now and five, ten, or even 20 years ago. Athletic players and specialists are running the game right now. Keep in mind that some slides are not necessarily negative. So, without further ado...
Just as there are many physically imposing players in the NBA, there are just as many soft sticks out there. When you think of physicality in basketball, you think of words like "dirty" and "fouls", but aggression plays a huge part in winning in basketball (i.e. 2008 NBA Finals). On offense, it makes your shots harder to block and gives you a higher chance of landing on the charity strip. On defense, it wears your opponent down and often times intimidates them into a lower percentage shot. Sure, hand-checking is now illegal, but its not like it still doesn't happen. Detroit's lovable Bill Laimbeer ought to teach these young fellas how to get in there and bang around. Admit it, basketball has become softer.
What ever happened to back to the basket centers? What ever happened to the shot blocking physical presence centers? What happened to the 7" foot plus monsters that dominated the league for years and years? What happened to the Alonzos, the Shaqs, the Yaos, the Wilts, the Robinsons, the Olajuwons? The centers we know today are role players shades under 7 feet, or 7" footers with astounding potential living on glass knees. Perkins, Bogut, and Bynum are sure keeping the old school feel alive, yet Dwight Howard continues a revolution. An evolution of the super athletic center. Its no longer a necessity to have a true center to win a championship. Dominating centers sure are missed. The last true great centers have officially retired at the end of this season. Who wouldn't pay to see a prime Shaq pitted against a prime Yao Ming?
Remember when the mighty Sacramento Kings almost reached the NBA Finals during the 2002 NBA Conference Finals screwjob? When "The Answer" Allen Iverson carried Philadelphia on his back and took them to the Finals in '01? I'm sure you remembered Reggie Miller's reign with the Indiana Pacers. I'm also well aware that you remember the 2004 NBA Champions, the Detroit Pistons. Fast-forward years later; The Maloofs are on the verge of moving the team to Anaheim. The Pistons lost 52 games, finishing well under 500 two years in a row. The Pacers were ousted in the first round in their first playoff appearance in four years. The 76ers served the same fate as Indiana. I'm glad that the Knicks and Bulls came back, now I'm wishing for these once great teams to offer some competition again.
In today's NBA, 3-pointers and driving the lane have become the most common threats for most guards and slashers. Little do they know how deadly the mid-ranged jumpshot is. Two of the greatest basketball players of all time, Jordan and Bryant honed their jumpshots and high post fadeaways to dominate other teams. Jordan and Bryant terrorized the NBA with their almost unstoppable mid-ranged game. It's amazing that this classic basketball art is slowly falling from the NBA.
Swag. Let me just start this page off by saying in the most civilized manner possible; Allen Iverson is the most "gangsta" baller ever. Allen epitomized hip-hop in the NBA. He had the tats, the bling, the NewEra hats, the aggression, and the energy he produced night in and night out made him a fan favorite. One of the most popular players of all time, Allen Iverson even rapped a few! Of course, this path was followed by the likes of Kobe, Shaq, Ron, and even Jason Kidd. David Stern has banned any hip-hop attires being worn by NBA players, but even through this marshall law, hip hop and basketball continue its connections. You had to be a true OG to rock the jersey, bling, and cap. What if Wiz Khalifa were to rep the Philadelphia 76ers, while Iggy rocked the Black and Yellow?
The AAU spirit has taken over the NBA. You have to admit, its sad to see franchise players team up and leave their teams in the wake of the lottery. Batman and Robin don't exist anymore. In the NBA, its Superman and Superman. Recently, super teams like the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and New York Knicks have collected franchise stars to chase a championship. Bosh and James left Toronto and Cleveland out of the Playoffs indefinitely. Carmelo turned the Nuggets into a team with depth, but little balance. Stoudemire crushed Steve Nash' hopes of a championship. The Big Ticket's Timberwolves are irrelevant. I hope the NBA one day takes in the franchise tag law that the NFL is using. It's better to see 16 legit Playoff contenders than 3 championship contenders and 27 lottery squads.
The NBA has banned any taunting on the court. This includes stare downs and hanging on the rim. Boooooooooooo! Staring down the person you just blocked/dunked on is like icing on cake. Hanging on the rim tells everybody what the **** just happened. The intensity and momentum boost is compelling, so I don't know why the NBA would ban this. Fans love it, players love it, but apparently David Stern doesnt.