Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The State Physicality in the NBA

Michael Jordan and other NBA players from the 1980s like to claim that today's current players would've struggled in earlier NBA play on account of the contemporary game becoming far less physical. Last night's "fight" (i.e., shove-match) between Golden State and Indiana provides an interesting perspective on the state of physical intensity in the NBA. If you watch the video there are multiple pushes, David Lee and Roy Hibbert imitate mating walruses with a full-on chest thumping, a surprising number of people trip considering they are all professional athletes, and after about 15 seconds all walk calmly to their bench.
[See fight here . . . NBA took it off Youtube.]

To offer some context compare the above with this 1984 fight started by Larry Bird and Dr. J, two superstars not known for being particularly belligerent. What begins as a scrum quickly turns post-apocalyptic riot where players are running and just throwing punches at anything that looks like an opposing player. At 1:24 Bird is getting head-locked from behind while Dr. J unloads on him.Stern has to be pleased about the NBA's post-Artest comity but last night's shove-and-trip-fest gives credence to Jordan's argument.

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