In today's NBA, the term "load management" is a pretty common thing, and a lot of teams are limiting their best player's minutes as much as they can. In comparison to previous NBA eras, technology, medicine, nutrition, and athletes, in general, are more educated about staying healthy and prolonging their careers as much as they can. However, the other side of this story is the fans who are furious that the best players are sitting out some games, mainly because they are the ones paying a lot of money to see players perform on a nightly basis.
Sitting out games wasn't the case with the older generation of players, and it certainly wasn't an option for one of the greatest players in NBA history, Michael Jordan. In an interview Michael Jordan did with Arsenio Hall back in 1990, he was asked whether he feels like he is playing too hard, which might affect him in the long run.
In his fashion, Jordan responded he always plays hard, which is the only way he knows how to play. Jordan didn't believe in burnouts or constraining himself to play limited minutes. He never worried about these things, which is just one reason he had such a historic career. Jordan even had a clause in his contract that said he could play pick-up basketball if he chooses so, proving the passion for the game was always there.
"When I play, I play hard all the time. There is no turning on here, turning on there. It's just 110 percent all the time. If I burnout, I burnout. It means my career is short, and I can go and play golf. In my whole life, I never paced myself. It's all about going out and doing your best. A lot of people worry about me burning out, and I never have the time to worry about it. I just go out and play.
Michael Jordan, via Arsenio Hall