December 26th, 2011 at 9:53 AM ^

The David Stern era interwoven with memories of the NBA as I remember it while growing up makes for appropriately complex feelings, but the video was well done. Very cool.  


December 26th, 2011 at 10:04 AM ^

back in Magic-Bird days.   The game stopped being a team game when Michael took over.  Now it's a cash grab and best players would rather conspire to play together in one place to try and win a championship instead of playing against each other.

The game is not the same and Stern has turned into some kind of dictator.  Voidng the trade of Paul to the Lakers just guaranteed that LeBron gets a title.  He can't win one building a team on his own, he has to get help from the front office and get the best players in the east all on his team.  Magic, Bird, Erving, Jordan, Russell, West...none of them would join their toughest competition to try and guarantee a championship.

The game has changed...and it's not for the better.


December 26th, 2011 at 10:35 AM ^

It seems the younger generation of basketball stars is trying to emulate the commercial success of Jordan. Yet they forget that he was a complete player. I can't watch the NBA. Not because of the commercialism and flashy plays, but because the game is horrible. Lack of defense and basic fundamentals ruin it for me.

panthera leo fututio

December 26th, 2011 at 10:36 AM ^

False nostalgia.

Magic, Bird, Erving, Jordan, Russel, and West all won their championships by playing alongside top-50 alltime players. Yes, free agency exists now. I don't think it should be abolished.

Pro-/anti-NBA arguments here are always tedious and stupid, so I won't go further, other than to say that I would be extremely surprised if your claim about greater team basketball in the '80s held up to any serious analysis, especially if one considers defense to be part of basketball.


December 26th, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

Man, I don't know. I'm looking at the NBA rosters in the 83-84 season, and I'm seeing a lot of teams without any stars at all. When the NBA did their 50th anniversary list of the top 50 players,  Boston and LA had three each. Boston: Bird, McHale, Parish. LA: Kareem, Magic, Worthy. Here are the other players on that list with their teams.

Portland: 1 (Drexler, as a rookie)

Philly: 2 (Dr. J, Moses, both at least near peak) 

San Antonio: 1 (Gervin, near peak)

Detroit: 1 (Isiah, nearing peak years)

Clippers: 1 (Walton, but a shell of himself due to injury)

Now you can argue with the selections (no Dominique, no Alex English, no Bernard King the most glaring, and maybe Parish's rep was boosted due to titles, Walton only had a few dominant years). But out of the 12 players picked as all-time greats playing then, six of them were on two teams. And look at a few of these rosters...


CHICAGO BULLS 0 Orlando Woolridge, 3 Ennis Whatley, 12 Ronnie Lester, 15 Mitchell Wiggins, 21 Sidney Green, 22 Rod Higgins, 24 Reggie Theus, 32 Steve Johnson, 33 Jawann Oldham, 34 David Greenwood, 40 Dave Corzine, 44 Quinten Dailey, 54 Wallace Bryant

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 5 John Bagley, 8 Lonnie Shelton, 10 Stewart Granger, 11 Cliff Robinson, 20 Geoff Huston, 21 World Free, 32 Roy Hinson, 33 Paul Thompson, 35 Phil Hubbard, 41 Geoff Crompton, 45 Jeff Cook, 50 Ben Poquette, 55 John Garris

INDIANA PACERS 7 Tracy Jackson, 7 Bruce Kuczenski, 11 Brook Steppe, 12 Butch Carter, 14 Jerry Sichting, 16 Jim Thomas, 21 Kevin McKenna, 24 George Johnson, 31 Granville Waiters, 32 Herb Williams, 33 Clark Kellogg, 34 Leroy Combs, 35 Sidney Lowe, 40 Steve Stipanovich

KANSAS CITY KINGS 2 Dana Suttle, 8 Eddie Johnson, 10 Don Buse, 20 Ed Nealy, 22 Larry Drew, 24 Reggie Theus, 25 Billy Knight, 30 Kevin Loder, 33 Steve Johnson, 35 Dave Robisch, 40 Larry Micheaux, 41 LaSalle Thompson, 42 Mike Woodson, 50 Joe Meriweather

NEW JERSEY NETS 1 Foots Walker, 10 Otis Birdsong, 11 Mark Jones, 12 Darwin Cook, 14 Kelvin Ransey, 20 Michael Ray Richardson, 23 Bruce Kuczenski, 31 Mike O'Koren, 33 Reggie Johnson, 34 Bill Willoughby, 42 Mike Gminski, 52 Buck Williams, 53 Darryl Dawkins, 55 Albert King

PHOENIX SUNS 4 Kyle Macy, 6 Walter Davis, 7 Rory White, 7 Mike Sanders, 8 Rick Robey, 10 Rod Foster, 11 Johnny High, 14 Alvin Scott, 20 Maurice Lucas, 22 Larry Nance, 32 Charles Pittman, 33 Alvan Adams, 44 Paul Westphal, 53 James Edwards

WASHINGTON BULLETS 2 Michael Wilson, 13 Bryan Warrick, 14 Ricky Sobers, 15 Frank Johnson, 23 Charlie Davis, 24 Jeff Malone, 25 Darren Daye, 30 Mike Gibson, 31 Joe Kopicki, 32 DeWayne Scales, 42 Greg Ballard, 43 Jeff Ruland, 44 Rick Mahorn, 54 Tom McMillen

I mean, there are 7 teams in a 23 team league and the best player among them is a debate between Mahorn, Maurice Lucas, or maybe World B. Free if you're a fan of names and gunners. Those Celtics and Lakers teams were made through a series of great trades (Celtics ripping off Golden State for Parish, Lakers getting Kareem when he forced his way out of Milwaukee) and fortuitous drafts within a league that had a bare fraction of the talent that exists in today's NBA>  




December 26th, 2011 at 6:33 PM ^

In the mid-late 90's that would show a bunch of teams that are lucky to have one good player, no more two. It wasn't that every team was good. There are always bad teams. It's that the great teams had 3 stars, then good teams 2, and a few with at least one good player. After expansion you could roll with two stars, and there weren't a lot of teams with depth after that. The League is refilling to the best level it's been since before then, but if you took 4 teams away, the bad teams would be better, and the great teams would truly be great. You'd have Ainge's, Cooper's, Green's, DJ's, Scott's and such around the big 3 Miami instead of the crap you now have. That's where expansion hurts. It doesn't create more stars. It means the bottom 50 players get pushed out of the League and better players fill in role-player and reserve rolls.

turbo cool

December 26th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

I couldn't agree more. Re: the Bird/Magic and previous eras; the championship teams were stacked. Look at all those Celtics and Lakers teams that won titles. Those starting rosters are littered with guys who are now in the Hall of Fame. But, everyone else is right, b/c the Heat and Knicks did this last year, the entire league does it now.

And, no defense? This is such a stupid argument. Critics like to say that guys like Lebron or CP3 or D-Rose don't play defense and only care about offense. That couldn't be further from the truth. Personally, this is the most exciting the NBA has been since the end of the Jordan era. There is so much young talent in every single game, that play both sides of the court. This is the best basketball being played in years.

To me, it's easy to criticize the NBA, and there are some legitimate reasons to (bad ownership, need for a new commissioner, etc). But, to say that NBA players are such a different breed than guys in other leagues like the NFL is crazy. The NBA is more personable than the NFL, you can see their faces, fans are only sitting within feet of the game, etc. So, just b/c the NBA is an easier target than a league like the NFL, that doesn't mean the product on display is worse.


December 26th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

The criticism is often absolutely retarded.

If i told you there was a star player in a sport who left tens of millions of dollars on the table, and accepted a potentially lesser role on a new team for the express purpose of winning multiple championships, you'd probably be like, "Wow, now that's a guy I'd like to play with. Someone to admire. He knows what it's all about."

That's before I told you that guy is LeBron James.

turbo cool

December 26th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

I agree. If it wasn't for the 'Decision', which was dumb, Lebron wouldn't have gotten the same amount of criticism. Most people would applaud the move of a superstar, regardless of sport, taking a litte less money and sacrificing his role as the team's go-to guy in order to win a championship.


December 26th, 2011 at 1:16 PM ^

Obviously your description is vague for a reason, but the fact that he wants to win multiple championships isn't what makes people angry. It's that he essentially gave up on winning a title on his own, rather than working to keep the Cavs on the upward trajectory they were heading.

Similar scenario.. Assume the Packers didn't win the title last year, and this year, after a great regular season, they were to fail in the playoffs yet again.  Aaron Rodgers decides to leave in free agency to play in a bigger market with some other great player (Adrian Peterson?), even if they collectively accept less money. Do you really think they would be applauded for these decisions?

Sure, a lot of the hate for Lebron was as a result of "The Decision", but to say he should be lauded for accepting less money to win multiple championships is flawed logic, in my opinion. This has happened with various players in the past (McDyess and Odom being the most recent examples I can think of), but superstars are, and should be, treated differently.


December 26th, 2011 at 4:09 PM ^

Oh please.

What if i told you that a player who won an MVP completely choked in not one, not two but three successive playoff runs and then in a televised tribute to the greatness that is he, this same player shoved it up the ass of the are he grew up in to feed his narcissic ego?  And what if i told you this same player did this after all viable free agents had been signed thereby assuring the team and town that loved him was doomed the year he left?  And what if I told you this same player choked on his NEW team of self-assembled all-stars and almost single-handidly gave the championship to the other team?

You'd probably say "wow, that guy is a piece of shit". Someone I'm glad I dont have to associate with.  Someone who inspired a book title "The Whore of Akron". Somebody I'd like to root against as long as he's in the league.

That the same somebody you reference I believe.

Blue boy johnson

December 26th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

Jerry West might not join the toughest competition but the toughest competition joined him and Elgin Baylor, when the Lakers acquired Wilt Chamberlin.  Incidentaly the Lakers did not win the title with Chamberlin and West until the year after Baylor retired.

Red Auerbach used a loop hole in the draft  and ripped off Dick Vitale and the Pistons to eventually end up with Bird, McHale, and Parrish

The Philidelphia 76er's somehow ended up with the two best forwards from the ABA  on their team in the mid 70's when they acquired Julius Erving and George McGinnis. Later in a successful effort to get Dr. J. a title the 76ers went out and acquired Moses Malone, who happened to be the best Center in basketball at the time.

Magic and the Lakers had Kareem, Magic, and James Worthy so they probably didn't feel a need to add another superstar.



December 26th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

I really laugh when I hear people bitch about today's NBA players refusing to play defense.  Anyone who makes this claim is clearly either under 30 or simply not a fan of the NBA at all.  The hallmark of games played in the 60's, 70's and even the up to the late 80's was an absolute lack of defense.  Look at the average scores of games and you'll quickly see that most games were won with point totals in the 110-120 range or above and it was very rare to see a game played with even one team below 100 points.

Our very own "bad boys" were the first team in my memory (I'm 52) that committed to playing defense and even then it wasnt until AD (all scoring no real D) was moved that they were finally able to get the ring.  Riley watched his Lakers get killed not playing D and that's why his Knick teams of the 90's took the Pistons game even one step fuirther.



December 26th, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

If you're 33 how much do you really remember before the nineties. That was the worst period of me, me, me basketball. Everyone was drugged out and overpaid. That was a wasted generation of NBA talent. The NBA is so much better now.

Also, if you think the refs are calling fouls to cover spreads, you're delusional. Even Donaghy didn't say that and he was trying to pump up controversy to hurt the NBA and sell books.


December 26th, 2011 at 12:38 PM ^

The worst period for the NBA in its modern history (Bird-Magic forward) were the two years that Jordan sat out.

An ugly, "defensive" style dominated the game, with defense mainly a bunch of hand-checking and bumping of cutters that went uncalled due to the rules in place. Scores were regularly in the 80s. And apart from Hakeem, who was awesome the only top 50 stars in their prime were the Stockton-Malone combo, in a tiny market, and Ewing, playing on the team that pioneered the evolution of "defense" from the emphasis on team awareness and athletic switching that the Bad Boys and Bulls used to just bumping everyone they could.

Even Hakeem, who became one of the most talented offensive centers in NBA history (arguably the most) relied on a post game and fade away jumper that didn't exactly scream "Fan-tastick."


December 26th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

I am going on 34, but I still remember low-scoring games being a rare exception in the 1980s. The Pistons in the late 1980s won what were for the time some low-scoring games and opposing teams were left scratching their heads trying to figure out why they just couldn't make baskets all day. It was that then-innovative move to a defensive game. 

I think that what some are remembering as defense is just the style of play that was prevalent at the time, not defense, and perhaps some better fundamentals. Further, what looks like a "lack of defense" now can be just as easily attributed to players being "better athletes" and the level of athleticism in the game being generally higher. I also don't remember it being more of a team sport about 25 years ago - many teams had standout players who knew exactly how standout they were. It simply didn't get nearly the coverage that it does now. 


December 26th, 2011 at 11:55 AM ^

The switch to zone defenses has actually helped to make today's NBA a BETTER  defensive game. I don't know where people are getting the "lack of defense" except from the popular press. Now, you can win a game scoring just 90 or so if you play sound defense. In 1990, that would have been incredibly difficult to do with just man-to-man, especially if you were outmatched athletically. 

Blue boy johnson

December 26th, 2011 at 2:36 PM ^

Trading Adrian Dantley and acquiring Mark Aguirre (neither played much D) had little to do with the Piston's winning titles. Piston's traded Dantley because he was a pain in the ass and they wanted to play Dennis Rodman more. That being said, Aguirre wasn't too happy to see his minutes going to Rodman but he took it better than Dantley.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

December 26th, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

I'm going to disagree - trading Dantley was an important step for the offense.  Dantley was a black hole - whenever he got the ball, he would dribble and dribble and dribble before finally making his move (he did have some good post moves, I'll give him that).

With him gone the ball moved more, and this meant Joe D got more touches and the opportunity to shoot his sweet J.  His offensive game doesn't develop if Dantley is still around to hog the ball.

Also, Rodman getting more time wasn't a bad thing, either.

Blue boy johnson

December 26th, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

We will have to agree to disagree. Everybody, including Dantley, knew the Pistons were winning the title that year, and it pissed Dantley off to no end when he was traded for Aguirre, he's probably still bitter. If you recall Dumars and Dantley were quite good friends at the time as were Isiah and Aguirre. Dantley and Aguirre were very similar players and both pretty much one dimensional players, Pistons would have won with either.

Those Piston teams could have easily won 4 in a row. One year, you got the Dantley/Vinnie head collision debacle coupled with "Bird steals it", then Isiah's sprained ankle the next year. Both years Piston's were very close to winning it all. By that point Pistons, Lakers and Celtics were all very evenly matched, with the Pistons on the ascension and the other two on the decline.

Blue boy johnson

December 26th, 2011 at 4:53 PM ^

The main impetus for trading Adrian Dantley was his proclivity to be a pain in the ass to deal with,not because he stagnated the offense and retarded Joe Dumars development. If you think Joe Dumars was held back from developing because Adrian Dantley stagnated the offense to a much greater degree than Mark Aguirre, I think you are mistaken. Both Aguirre and Dantley were shoot first players with big egos, who weren't likely to pass the ball out to anybody, although both were capable passers. Joe D was maturing as a player and took on more of the load with each season he played. Dumars maturation was a natural progression and would have occured at roughly the same rate with Aguirre or Dantley.  If anyone was to be stagnated by Dantley it would have been Dennis Rodman, but Rodman wasn't either.

It wasn't a question of Dantley stagnating the offense it was a question of getting Rodman more playing time. When push came to shove Mark Aguirre was more accomadating to ceding minutes to Rodman than was Adrian Dantley

I Bleed Maize N Blue

December 26th, 2011 at 5:29 PM ^

Well, we're talking parts of the same equation, aren't we?  Dantley was a pain in the ass, so team chemistry was better with him gone (Joe D may have been close with AD, but Aguirre was close with Isiah, who with Laimbeer told him how things were going to be, and Aguirre complied).

Dantley averaged a little over 2 minutes more than Aguirre did in 88-89, so more minutes for Rodman.  Dantley not hogging the ball and more minutes for Rodman mean more touches for Joe D.

Maybe Joe D's game would still have come on with AD, but that would mean Chuck Daly has to sit him more, so he's pouting on the bench while Rodman gets more time.  Better he was traded.


December 26th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

Watched this when it aired during the pregame. Loved it. Also, Shaq and Barkley chirping at each other during the pregame show is the best television ever made. I plan on watching all the TNT pregames this year.