A big factor while comparing eras in the NBA is the physicality. Earlier, it was much more aggressive, but now it has toned down to an extent where it is often termed “soft.” A follow-up to this is that players are now closer to each other, and Washington Wizards star John Wall is left unimpressed with this.
“A lot of guys be too friendly now,” Wall said during a recent interview. “(Earlier) they weren’t friendly, they trying to rip each other head off. Now it’s like guys buddy-buddy.
“I ain’t got no friends.”
While Wall is correct about that, it is surprising to hear that from a 30-year-old who has barely been in the league a decade.
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Is the NBA too soft now?
Until the 90s, the game was fiercely competitive. Players fought more often, had a lot more trash-talking, and referees didn’t interrupt. Players vehemently hated the sight of their rivals. But as the decades went by, it gradually toned, and now, even a stare-down following a dunk results in a technical foul.
But a decade ago, the whole scenario was different. The Steve Blakes and Ron Artests of the league would elbow, shove and fight frequently, but now, that era has gone. Because of that, there was very little scope for off-court friendship. The most one had was friends from the same team.
And this friendship is often what leads to free agency decisions for players. The Heatles teaming up in 2010, and Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan joining the Nets last season are two examples of this.
Will not having close friends in the league hurt John Wall and the Washington Wizards?
The Wizards were a solid team in the 70s. They would regularly make it to the Conference Finals and NBA Finals, winning the title once. But since then, they have been reduced to a second-round team. Wall and Bradley Beal are the biggest names who have played for them in recent history. But it was because they were drafted here.
So this lack of success won’t help them attract any big names. And since Wall says he doesn’t have any friends in the league, they might continue to attract just the lower-tier free agents. The upcoming off-season doesn’t seem too promising for them. Although they might qualify for the playoffs, one won’t expect them to go beyond the first or second round.
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