NBA players today go through the most advanced workouts to keep their bodies in the most optimal condition. When injury strikes, a team doctor will be right there to tend to his needs.
Big O had to look for a doctor himself
This is all common sense. The players bring the big bucks for the organization and should therefore receive the utmost care. It is as true now as it was then. However, back in the old days, when a player gets injured, no trainers would be right by their side to check on him. Oscar Robertson recalled that after hurting his groin, he had to look for a doctor himself.
Chris Webber: When you hurt yourself and hurt your groin in Cincinnati, I mean, you were just messing with it…
Oscar Robertson: I went over Xavier University, and I got their trainers to work on me.
CW: It wasn’t even the team’s trainers, once again, you still had to go get your own medical…
OR: Yeah. Well, they paid for it, and everything… [The trainer] used ice and heat for three straight days.
This is an interesting little trivia. Robertson was one of the superstars of his era. Though teams did not have their own medical staff or trainers during that time, you’d think like a star like the Big O would receive special treatment. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Players nowadays don’t play heavy minutes
Robertson averaged 42.2 minutes per contest which ranks third in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain takes the crown as he averaged 45.8 minutes per game, followed by Bill Russell at 42.29 minutes.
In the top 10, only Allen Iverson (41.12) and Lattrell Sprewell (38.63) are from the 90s to 2000s. The rest were players from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and early 80s.
Together with Roberson’s story about dealing with his injuries, the statistics mentioned above show that this generation of NBA players is highly blessed. They’ll only play over 40 minutes when the game reaches overtime. Back in the day, if you’re a superstar like the Big O, it’s expected you’ll play the whole game with just five minutes of rest — max. So when you hear an old basketball head that the younger generation is soft, now you understand why.