With basketball evolving to a 3pt-oriented game, physicality is no longer the crucial factor. Of course, players are strong and physical, but the focus is on explosiveness and spreading the floor with an effective shot.
When you factor in the game’s evolution along with the surge in NBA fines, it’s no surprise that players rarely challenge each other like that. The league has become very rigorous and does not tolerate any form of violence, which makes sense, of course, as they want players to play basketball, not fight.
However, as any fan who grew up watching Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Michael Jordan battle it day in and day out — you can’t help but reminisce the game’s physicality along with a few swings thrown here and there. It’s not about someone getting hurt, but just seeing that kind of raw emotion, energy, and everyone holding their own.
The NBA should perhaps re-think their strategy as TV ratings keep plunging. Prohibit fighting, but don’t fine players for everything they do; allow a bit of wrestling here and there. It might help develop new rivalries around the league and generate more interest with the new kids following the game.