Over the years, the new generation of players and fans have begun to distance themselves from players of yesterday. Earlier this summer, JJ Redick went on ‘First Take’ and called out the praises for a player like NBA legend Bob Cousy, because he played against “plumbers and firemen”.
More recently, more NBA player Al Harrington went on record claiming he would dominate someone like Willis Reed if they had played one-on-one. In both examples, these are two non-Hall of Fame players of a newer generation calming the praises of the greats of yester-year.
If you took their games as is, there are many players from the golden ages of the NBA that would not translate well to today’s game. On the ‘No Chill’ podcast, Gilbert Arena argued that if you took Bob Cousy in his prime, there’s a chance that a non-All Star player of today’s day would be able to outshine him in many aspects. It needs to be said that the argument is weak and disrespectful.
In the end, someone like Willis Reed’s mentality coupled with the training, medical care and groundwork laid down from previous generations would adapt and find his place just fine in today’s NBA. On the other hand, it’s wrong to think you can place nearly anyone of today’s NBA and expect them to have the same skillset and success in the era that players such as Reed played in.
The NBA keeps growing and one day, there might be a future NBA star who makes a similar statement regarding LeBron James when we reach an era of the NBA where more talents have Steph Curry-esque shooting abilities. Although it was in a joking manner, Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant recently claimed he would cook Michael Jordan.
What needs to be said about the titans of the NBA is that it isn’t about your skill, as much as it is about your drive to win and adapt your game at every aspect. This is why someone like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan would dominate in any era.
The greats of the past are great for a reason.