Many NBA fans today complain the league is soft and that the players themselves are weak for various reasons. Back in the day, it was normal for star players to stay as long as possible with one franchise, especially if that franchise allowed them to compete for a championship, surrounding them with an exceptional supporting cast. Today things are a bit different, and players who stick to their franchise for an extended period are a dying breed.
In the past decade, we’ve seen star players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and some others leave their teams to join other franchises even though the initial belief was that they would stay loyal. But, of course, loyalty is gone in the NBA because it’s business above anything else. There is a notion players in the past stuck through the good and the bad times with their franchise.
Clyde Drexler, a multiple all-star and one of the best wing players in the ’80s and ’90s, made a guest appearance on Chris Broussard’s show ‘In The Zone,’ where he talked about the difference in the player’s mentality than and now. Drexler believes young players in the NBA today are doing everything they could to win a championship, even if it means joining a team that beat them in the playoffs or the finals. According to Drexler, there was more pride and competitive nature among older players who, after losing a vital series, wanted to get better and get their revenge on the court. There was no way Drexler was going to try and join Michael Jordan after they lost to the Chicago Bulls in the 1992 NBA finals.
“I kind of side with the older players on this one. If you beat me in the finals and you are a really good player if I’m a free agent, I’m not going to say I will play with you. I’m pissed that you beat me, and we wanted to come back at you. That was our mentality. I don’t want to join your team, I want to beat you. That is what competition is all about, and now things have changed.”Clyde Drexler, In The Zone
Even though Drexler is an advocate of being competitive and giving your best to try and beat the team that you’ve lost against, he used an example of Kevin Durant when he joined the Golden State Warriors a few years ago. It was an intelligent move from Drexler’s perspective, mainly because it’s easier to play, and you don’t have to put a lot of effort into winning games and championships when you are surrounding yourself with three more all-stars on the team.
“I think the decision Durant made was a good one. As you get older, you want to make the game easier. I think it’s very smart. He could score 30, or he could score 15, and they gonna win.”Clyde Drexler, In The Zone