There is a lot of discussion among NBA fans and analysts about which era was the best, and everybody has their reasoning on why a particular era was better than the other. A significant majority of NBA fans are nostalgic and will say the NBA was the best in the ’80s and ’90s and how today’s basketball is no longer on the same level as before. You can definitely argue that some things were better back then, but people should also consider some of the good sides of the league today and how it evolved throughout the years.
Famous sportscaster Ahmad Rashad recently gave an interview for Dime Uproxx in which he, among many other topics, discussed the difference in eras and why it’s essential to appreciate greatness no matter what. Rashad talked about this year’s NBA Finals between the Bucks and the Suns, which according to him, was a great series because it was so unpredictable who would win. The Suns were leading 2-0 in the series, but the Bucks could turn things around and win a championship, which for Rashad was the ultimate proof that the NBA is still an exciting league with good players and teams.
Well, I think athletes are still great athletes, and the competition, even in this last series, was fantastic. The games were great. Absolutely great, and they haven’t changed. Because one thing you learn about playing basketball is, in a series, there’s no carryover from one game to the next. You can blow the team out in the first game and get blown out yourself in the second game. So you watch these people change and adjust and try to do what they do. And you watch the ones that are going to keep diving for the ball and keep playing hard or playing smart, and it’s so much fun to watch that kind of competition. And that hasn’t changed.
When it comes to player comparisons, Rashad believes players nowadays are physically better prepared and, in general, are better athletes than players 20 or 30 years ago. The sheer fact we have seven-footers shooting three-pointers and consistently making those shots is something that was pretty much unseen up until a few years ago. Rashad also stressed that he is not one of those types that are constantly comparing eras but rather enjoys good basketball and takes the best out of everything.Ahmad Rashad, via Dime
I think that’s the beauty of the sport, that these guys find a way to win. And they have some talented players playing now that are physically just way better than a lot of people were. As the eras keep going and time keeps going, the athletes get better. They never had a seven-footer shooting three-point shots, or they never had seven-footers being a point guard. So it’s a lot of different things to watch. And just in terms of a fan, I enjoy every minute of it. I don’t try to compare. I don’t compare it to the Detroit Pistons where they would beat you up and knock you down and play real hard. I don’t compare that because that worked during that time, but now they have new rules and different things like that. It’s still a beautiful game. It’s a really beautiful game of basketball.Ahmad Rashad, via Dime
Rashad actually made some excellent points on why fans should appreciate all eras. Basketball is constantly evolving as a sport, and that is seen in today’s NBA, which is much different from the league we know from 20,30 years ago when the Bulls, for example, were the best team in the world. In the meantime, NBA became an international league, and the impact of international players is felt now more than ever before. Some things can be done better, but overall the quality of basketball is still on a high level, and the players themselves are more skilled than ever before.