Timberwolves' Austin Rivers: 'Highlight Culture Has Absolutely Killed' Basketball

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 16: Austin Rivers #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on against the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter of the game at Target Center on January 16, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Jazz defeated the Timberwolves 126-125. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

The internet has undoubtedly changed how sports are covered and consumed around the globe. Austin Rivers isn't feeling one particular aspect of that phenomenon.

The Minnesota Timberwolves' veteran guard said on his podcast that he doesn't like the "highlight culture" that has been created at every level of basketball:

Ballislife.com @Ballislife

Mixtape legend 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/50vNJR6wye">pic.twitter.com/50vNJR6wye</a>

While Rivers focused on how kids seeking highlight-worthy moments and only watching them has changed the game of basketball, it isn't hard to find examples of how the sport's culture has perhaps been changed by 24/7 access to highlight reels online:

Evan Fournier @EvanFourmizz

Smh. We need to set a better exemple for this new generation man <a href="https://t.co/pbzShPlIDt">https://t.co/pbzShPlIDt</a>

Damian Lillard @Dame_Lillard

Facts . It's getting out of control <a href="https://t.co/jJVNdaF2s0">https://t.co/jJVNdaF2s0</a>

Ultimately, youth sports are meant to be fun, so young kids mimicking the celebrations of the athletes they look up to isn't a big deal, or unsurprising. But Rivers' larger point seems to be that it's spreading to how the game itself is being played, with the flashy moments and subsequent celebrations overshadowing things like fundamentals and basketball IQ.

It isn't a new argument. Generations past have lamented the changing of the sport too. But Rivers, who was a mixtape darling himself growing up, has a unique perspective on this particular aspect of basketball culture.