The physicality in the NBA today is questionable among many fans when they compare it to the basketball that was being played in the ’80s or ’90s. The late great Kobe Bryant started his career in the mid-’90s for the Los Angeles Lakers and played 20 straight seasons, and shared his views on the rules regarding defense in today’s NBA. Bryant stated he wants a more physical style of play.
“I’d allow for more physicality in the game. I’d allow for hand-checking, things like that. I feel like European basketball is more physical than the NBA is right now. I think the NBA needs to be more physical. Not to the sense of the way the Pistons were playing where guys are literally fearing for their safety when they’re up in the air, not that kind of basketball. But something where you’re not getting called for a body check or light hand check or things like that. I think it just makes the game ridiculous.”Kobe Bryant, via Detail
He also mentioned a similar problem in college basketball, and he couldn’t even watch the games anymore because of so many foul calls that disrupt the flow of the game.
“It trickles down to NCAA. I could barely watch some of these games in the NCAA because, like, a player touches a guy with a thumb, and it’s a foul in a situation where it costs them the game. That type of stuff drives me crazy. That would be the first thing I’d change.”Kobe Bryant, via Detail
According to Bryant, the lack of real experience is missing in today’s game, which impacts the level of enjoyment fans have for the game.
“I think it needs to be more enjoyable. It’s more enjoyable if there’s a certain level of physicality. You get to see players go mano-a-mano a little bit instead of, Oh, my God, he put a hand on me, it’s a foul. That’s got to go, man.Kobe Bryant, via Detail
Bryant believed players today lack the skillset and are not so focused on the fundamentals, which is, in his mind, a big problem for their development and the league’s overall quality.
“It challenges players to improve their skill level, too. If you can hand check, things like that, you really must be fundamentally sound, you really must be able to handle the ball to get past defenders.”Kobe Bryant, via Detail