NBA fans often like to romanticize and rave about the old-school era of basketball and just how much tougher it was while bashing the modern NBA for its softness. There are a few good reasons for that, but sometimes the old-heads go to the extremes and turn a blind eye to the flaws (or realities) from the 80s or 90s. JJ Redick made sure to call them out on that.
Respect the call
Players complaining to referees about anything almost every single possession has unfortunately become a standard for today's NBA, as everyone from superstars to role players doesn't hold back from yapping at the refs, demanding to get their way.
Guys like Chris Paul, Draymond Green, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, and more have really gotten the reputation of being notorious complainers that will argue any call that doesn't go their way, angering the fans that just want them to suck it up and play, like their idols from the 80s and 90s.
But was it really that different back in the time? JJ Redick went off on ESPN the other day, defending the players of today by trying to make the point that even greats like MJ and Bird complained to the officials:
"Michael Jordan didn't complain to the officials? Larry Bird didn't complain? Come on, guys. This nostalgia that you have for the '80s and '90s – like, a great era of basketball. It's awesome, but it's at the dispense of our generation of players, and it has been for the last 15 years. And it's annoying. You know it's true."
JJ Redick, ESPN
Well, the old heads will definitely tear up JJ for this take, but he is speaking facts. Although the complaining seen in today's league is annoying, the situation wasn't much better throughout history. Jordan was notorious for emphatically going after referees and scaring them with their presence. Also, when you think of guys like Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Tim Duncan, and many more stars, you can vividly remember them complaining to the refs.
But that's just how great players are built. They believe they are so good every call against them is wrong, and there is nothing that changes the mind of a stubborn superstar. You can bash the modern players and game for being a lot softer and less physical, but when it comes to complaining to the refs, not much is changed.