Charles Barkley believes that the style of play of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” would be too suffocating at the part of Stephen Curry.
“I played against Michael (Jordan) every year in his prime, and it was beautiful to watch. But going back and watching the ‘Last Dance’, seeing what the Pistons did to him, trying to physically whoop the hell out of him and him not complaining (by) just getting bigger and stronger, I’m like ‘Damn this guy was the greatest in my opinion,’” Barkley said as he discussed the changes and nature of the NBA’s physicality with The Ringer’s Bill Simmons. “Look at the beating this guy has taken. You got anybody and even today, you have to admit it’s a lot easier to play basketball nowadays because you can’t hit anybody.
“As much as I love Steph Curry – and I love Steph Curry – can you imagine the ‘Bad Boys’ beating the hell out of him? Can you imagine that? As much as I love Steph Curry, if you think he could take those blows that John Salley, Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, those body checks that they were putting on Michael and Scottie (Pippen) and myself and guys like that, you really think Steph Curry wouldn’t break?”
If not the “Greatest of All Time” debate between Jordan and LeBron James, the absolute talk of town in the NBA will always be the endurance of today’s players against the brute, old school style of play of those who existed back in the 80s and 90s.
As it is, today’s players won’t truly overcome the physicality of the past. But nonetheless, they are much skillful and superior towards their craft thanks to the progress of science and technology.
If the rules of the previous era would be applied, there’s no doubt that the Golden State Warriors superstar will suffer physically given the accustomed notoriety imposed by the Bad Boys. But if Isiah Thomas and the co. will play today, they would be clueless on how they’ll try to figure out Curry’s offensive briliance and puzzling off-ball mechanisms. Logically, given their distressing acts of play, they’ll also likely suffer in their own hands by fouling out and eventually get ejected.
At the end of the day, things have changed beyond what we can think of. Though many still crave about the physicality of the NBA’s past, it is still much important to appreciate the ongoing revolutions of the new and forthcoming generations as these will further carry us in acknowledging how special the game of basketball truly is.