Is the NBA that bad?
Sure, MJ hung with Mars Blackmon, but that's a far cry from the way today's NBA stars roll. LeBron is co-hosting an All-Star party with Jay-Z. Then again, even Jordan later trumpeted his friendship with Jay-Z to prove he was still relevant.
These are different times, but many fans seem not to have moved with them.
I don't care who the players hang out with because that doesn't impress me. The game itself has changed. Not to say that there aren't very talented players or teams that aren't good, it's just not what it was.
But that's not all the nba's fault. The NBA won the lottery in the 80's and it carried the league for almost 2 decades -- from Bird/Magic's introduction in '79 to Jordan's retirement in '98. You can't expect lightning to strike twice.
We'll never see players of that caliber competing against each other day after day again. Especially now that free agency and expansion has diluted the talent level as a whole. If Jordan or Bird came out today, they'd probably opt out after 3 years so they can play in Phoenix or San Antonio. Remember, Kevin Garnett did not want to go to Boston initially. Forget the history, they want nice weather and golf.
It boils down to this. I'm not even going to pick my favorites (although i did enjoy watching a few clips of Michael vs Larry on youtube yesterday...), I'll say that I and most others would rather see Barkley vs Dominique in their prime, in a regular season game than Lebron vs Kobe. Why??? I don't know all the reasons...I can only touch on the couple of things I mentioned earlier.
Very dead on analysis. I would even extend the glory years to 2002 because the majority hated LA and wanted to see them lose.
Last year's Finals illustrates your points below. What Lebron is doing at 23 years of age (30 pts, 8 rbs, 7 assts) is sick. What he did to take that pitiful team to the Finals is beyond amazement. But did that translate into people wanting to watch Cinderella dance one more time. Hell naw, they had the worst ratings in history.
Gangsta made this point last week and he's 100% right. You need Lakers vs Suns in the West Conf finals, followed by Lakers vs Celtics in Finals.
The 2000-2002 Lakers were a great team but I wouldn't put those years in. Only because the league as a whole wasn't that interesting. People watched the Lakers, Blazers and Kings. No one cared that Jason Kidd was in the finals.
In fact...i've been thinking about it. I would knock a couple of years off my estimate. From 96-98, the Bulls were great but no one else was. And i don't know enough about 81-83 to put those years in there.
I would say 84-93. At some point during these years Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Kevin Mchale, James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon were all in their prime with Kareem and Moses Malone on a slow decline. The NBA is just never going to have a stretch like that again.
Is that fair? Can you argue for any other years?
I wasn't getting ready to argue your point but I started thinking more about the years you singled out. And you're right. At that particular time it was a true golden era for the NBA. A lot of teams playing at upper levels.
I guess I factor in 96-98 and 00-02 b/c of how the Bulls and Lakers dominated those particular years and the drama the came from them defending their crowns. I mean the 98 Eastern Conf Finals was beyond dope and every time I watch the 02 Western Conf Finals I still get goosebumps.
I debated about that. Did Jordan's popularity keep the league as interesting as it was in say, 88? Did the laker's polarism keep the league as interesting despite the diluted talent pool?
I don't think we can answer that because we are fans. We need a casual fan to truly answer whether those years should be counted.