The NBA game has evolved so much in the modern years, as the league has become global and filled with more talent than ever. But that shouldn’t diminish the fact the NBA has a lot of spectacular players in its past. The younger generations of NBA fans mostly believe that the NBA didn’t really have too many great players in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, implying certain guys benefited from playing against the lousy competition.
For example, Bill Russell winning 11 rings doesn’t get enough respect, Wilt breaking all kinds of scoring records is vastly overlooked, or even the “Big O,” Oscar Robertson averaging a triple-double in an era that wasn’t so fast-paced and stats oriented has being thrown in the shadow with Westbrook breaking the record. Robertson himself addressed the people that said he wasn’t that great.
“I played against some of the greatest guys in the world: Chamberlain, Russell, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Bob Pettit, Fraizer’s, and Dick Barnetts and Dave Bings. I played against the greatest guys in the world. Most of them are in the Hall of Fame. Playing against these guys gives me a badge of honor. Seeing that I played these guys with complete games. They can play defense. They can shoot off the dribble. And you played them 13 times. Sometimes when you got more teams 10 times. That meant a lot to me. “Oscar Robertson, The Universe Galaxy
Robertson would also compare himself to some of the greats that came after him and how he would stack up against them. The secret is knowing your limitations and never forgetting basketball is a team game.
“When I see people on television talk about this guy couldn’t have done this. They don’t know that. I know this. I could have played against anybody. If I played against a Jordan, Kobe, or a LeBron, I wouldn’t make it a personal challenge. I knew what I could do as a guard for this team; I knew what the team had to do.”Oscar Robertson, The Universe Galaxy
“Mr. Triple Double” is definitely correct, as many fans don’t know the kind of special player he was. A 6’5” point guard without any weaknesses on the floor, which made him a triple-double machine. The 25.7 points, 7.5 rebound, and 9.5 assists per game for his career can attest to that. Numerous players from that era consider Robertson to be the greatest player of all time – the ultimate sign of respect from his peers.
Sure, the NBA back then didn’t have the depth and volume of talent we have today because of the lesser number of teams and players. But that doesn’t mean that the players that were playing were any worse. Oscar mentioned that the NBA was stacked, with numerous great matchups between them throughout the season due to the smaller number of teams. That why we can’t really compare eras and say one is more talented or better than the other one, but we should rather appreciate greatness no matter when it happened.