James Worthy, an NBA Hall of Famer and current Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster, is the latest former player to criticize the current crop of ballers, claiming that things aren’t the same as they were back in the day. Worthy claimed on the Stoney & Jansen Show that one-and-done players had made the game “less fundamentally solid,” among other things:
“I mean, Kareem had four years with John Wooden, Michael Jordan and I had three years with Dean Smith, Isiah (Thomas) had some years with Bobby Knight. So, you learned the fundamentals. Not only that, you learned how to live. You learned how to balance your freaking checkbook in college, there’s a lot of things. When you don’t get that, guys are coming to the NBA who are not fundamentally sound. All they do is practice threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media. That’s it.”
Worthy, 61, spent his entire 12-year NBA career (1982-1994) with the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 17.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while winning three championships as the sidekick to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
He’s an NBA legend, despite the fact that earlier generations of players undoubtedly felt his Showtime Lakers did nothing except do drugs, sleep around with women, and push the tempo in transition.
The game has shifted. The atmosphere around the game shifts. Inevitably, this appears to ruffle former players’ feathers.
Kevin Durant reacted to Worthy’s comments in his own way:
My middy is sharp, but james is right, this ain’t the old days lol https://t.co/MbHHTPSsQn
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) May 26, 2022
Given the AAU culture that has arisen, the modern NBA features players who have dedicated their whole life to the game, as well as better athletes with greater resources for proper diet and physical care.
Many of the league’s finest players have come from outside the United States, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic, to mention a few. As a result, the league has seen a massive inflow of talent.
And the expanding tendency of spacing the floor has not only resulted in more skillful players entering the NBA, but it has also necessitated the use of very athletic, versatile, and switchable players who when needed can play attack and defence.
Are the NBA’s fundamentals really less fundamental, or have they broadened? It’s difficult to believe that players who are so good at what they do spend all of their time on social media and in tattoo parlors.
The NBA has been the target of numerous criticisms. For one thing, the season feels too long, resulting in injured superstars who can’t play or aren’t 100 percent in the postseason. The postseason product suffers as a result of this. Take a look at the recent string of blowouts in the playoffs.
Worthy’s criticisms, like those of many other former NBA players who are irritated by the modern game, read more like worry about the inevitability of change than constructive criticism about the game’s current situation.