According to Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk, the former All-Star and NBA champion sounded off Saturday about what he perceives to be the deterioration of the NBA and the sport of basketball in general:
I remember I came into the NBA in 1999, the game was a little bit more rough. The game now is more for kids. It's not really a man's game anymore. The parents are really protective of their children. They cry to their AAU coaches. They cry to the refs, "That's a foul. That's a foul."
Sometimes I wish those parents would just stay home, don't come to the game, and now translated, these same AAU kids whose parents came to the game, 'That's a foul.' These kids are in the NBA. So now we have a problem. You've got a bunch of babies professionally around the world.
It's no longer a man's game. It's a baby's game. There's softies everywhere. Everybody's soft. Nobody's hard no more. So, you just deal with it, you adjust and that's it.
World Peace is one of the most aggressive players in recent memory, and he has never been one to back down from a fight, as evidenced by the infamous Malice at the Palace brawl he incited in 2004 in a game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons.
Helin was quick to react to World Peace's thoughts:
Good teams are playing faster, moving the ball well, and playing beautiful basketball now. But sure, what we miss is a dragged down, game where you can just grab/clutch/hack your opponents with impunity on the way to the rim. That was sure fun to watch. Maybe we should return to the 1940s and 50s when professional basketball more closely resembled football in the paint?
Don’t be your grandparents, people. Embrace the modern game.
L.A. signed World Peace to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract last month. While he isn't assured a roster spot, he could play a valuable role on a young Lakers squad.
Per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is intrigued by the possibility of keeping World Peace on the team as a veteran presence:
I think he'd be great in the locker room with young players, but we have to be careful not to use a roster spot too early because we have a lot of young kids ... that we're going to bring to camp. We don't want to put ourselves in a bind by getting 15 roster spots taken and not giving the young kids, who could be very talented, a chance to make the team. That's something that we're going to have to weigh.
Aside from Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have a very youthful team spearheaded by guards D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, as well as forward Julius Randle.
World Peace seems to believe that young players across the league are too pampered, but having someone of his ilk on the roster could help ensure that Los Angeles' up-and-coming stars don't go down that same road.
The former first-round pick was regarded as one of the toughest and most tenacious players in basketball during his prime. He was a key member of the Lakers from 2009 through 2013 and is a big reason why they won the 2009-10 NBA title.
This version of the Lakers has a long way to go before it vies for titles, and it is likely that both World Peace and Bryant will be out of the picture by the time it does.
If World Peace can help instill a rough-and-tumble attitude in the current roster, however, signing him may be viewed as a key move in terms of changing the culture in L.A.
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