There is a notion among NBA fans today that there are no real rivalries in the NBA anymore, and players became too friendly with each other. That causes frustration because fans are convinced the NBA’s quality is diminished, and players no longer care about beating individual players; instead, they prefer to join them through free agency. Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas debunks this theory by saying there were always players who were friends and those that considered themselves rivals and therefore refused to play on the same team together.
That always happened, but you have a rival you never played with. You have players you never want to play with because they are your rivals but you have players that complement your game. That is different. If you compliment my game, that is not buddy buddy, it’s just smart.Gilbert Arenas, via Fubo Sports
The buddy-buddy concept has taken a lot of attention and is often used by the fans to describe the relationship between players in the league today. Arenas believe most people don’t know the topic and depicts them as ‘small city people’ that have no real understanding of what’s it like practicing with other NBA players and why that is important for further development.
The misconception is that people who say this era is too friendly, too buddy-buddy, who workout with each other those are small city people. Those are small city guys that didn’t have the luxury to come to a city where 20 NBA players were, so they are just practicing and performing in front of their group. If you went to Chicago as an NBA player in the summer, you would realize they are 40 NBA players there. If you went to L.A., you will notice all the NBA players at UCLA.Gilbert Arenas, via Fubo Sports
If you want to be the best at something, you have to learn from the best, and in this specific case, you have to play and practice against the best players. Arenas thinks any NBA player who wants to improve will want to practice with the elite players, especially those who are his friends, and people shouldn’t be surprised about that.
If you are an All-NBA player, and we are friends, of course, I want to play and workout with you guys all day. Why would I want to workout with player number 499? I want to workout with the elite because that is the elite group.Gilbert Arenas, via Fubo Sports
Rivalries among NBA players and teams are probably not on the same level as they used to be 20, 30 years ago, but players’ habit of practicing together has always been a thing. Just remember there is footage of Jordan playing against other NBA stars during the summer, getting ready for the new season to start. That didn’t stop them from competing in real games. It also serves as an excellent opportunity to expand their game and see if other players improved and potentially prepare for them if they meet during the season.