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Old 01-31-2020, 10:34 AM
RickJay is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeagleJesus View Post
You're probably right on the money here.

I guess it's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that there is an entire generation of fans who never saw Jordan play much less Magic and Bird. The "new" guys are all they know. Hell, I would bet money that most fans under the age of 25 have never even seen a quality low post move pulled off in real time.

Thank god for YouTube I suppose.
Basketball as a pro sports is much younger than the other big ones, and so we are just beginning to have an ancient history of it, for want of a better term. Baseball fans stil ltalk about Babe Ruth in their greatest-ever discussions; Ruth retired 13 years before the NBA existed. When Ruth was born most people didn't even know what basketball was, unless they were regulars at a YMCA in the eastern USA, and Ruth wasn't even a figure in the early days of baseball; he debuted in 1914, at which point baseball had been an important professional sport for decades. The NFL and NHL started around the same time Ruth's career began, so while not as old as baseball, they are older than the NBA, and were well established sports, of course, prior to the formation of those leagues.

I am 48, and I am a white guy who grew up in a small Canadian city, but even then we knew who Kareem and Dr. J were. When Jordan arrived he was a sensation. I doubt, though, that 1% of my peers knew who Bill Russell was or could tell you anything about him. Kids have a sense of the now, not history, and they carry those impressions with them the rest of their lives. Those impressions are not only of what figures were important, but of the STYLE of play. I tend to think of the way pro sports were played in my formative years of the 1980s as being the baseline against which the sports are measured; baseball had way more basestealing and 20-game winners, hockey had way more scoring, football was more conservative in the running/passing mix, and we've discussed 1980s basketball, which was rougher and 3-point shooting wasn't important.

I mean, will we ever see a low post man like Jordan again? A force of nature like Shaq? Maybe not. That's true of all sports; if you watch hockey for the next 200 years you might never see a guy with the behind the net play like Gretzky. You might never see a linebacker revolutionize the NFL like Lawrence Taylor did. You'll see something else cool though. As long as world-class athletes are competing for the riches and glory the NBA offers, SOMETHING amazing is going to happen.

I will say this; even if someone becomes a better player than Jordan, his importance in the game's history will likely never be surpassed. Jordan had impacts on the NBA and popular culture far beyond his playing ability. He is in that regard similar to Gretzky and Ruth in a way Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and LeBron James cannot be.
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Last edited by RickJay; 01-31-2020 at 10:39 AM.