The NBA has undergone quite the transformation over the years. Nothing ever really stays the same. It is easy to fall into a routine, to think you understand the game, the stats and the betting lines.
Then the players you came to associate with the game leave the NBA. They evolve from superstars to legends and everyone speaks of them as though they were of a bygone era. Some of these changes can prove to be quite jarring for a number of people, especially those who are not prepared.
If you grew up watching the likes of Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, and Kevin Garnett, a comment from a young NBA fan suggesting that maybe Kobe Bryant was never as great as you keep suggesting might come as a complete shock.
You need not lose your marbles, though because the legends of the NBA as you knew it are probably not the legends of the NBA from the perspective of a younger fan. Generations of athletes come and go, and every generation has its fans.
But even the greatest of legends eventually fades, and there is a disconnect that tends to emerge between each generation of athletes. Every older fan believes that their particular generation of basketball players is the best and that the newer ones are somewhat weaker and less impressive.
You might be surprised to eventually become one of those people who keeps referring to ‘the good old days’, even though there is probably no such thing as the good old days and every era of NBA stars has its hills and valleys.
There is no denying that superstar athletes are essential to the NBA; it is through these icons that eras of the game can be defined and distinguished. And it would be accurate to say that the game is better now than it ever was because of the proliferation of the information age.
Everything is recorded and every stat is documented; comparing athletes and quantifying their abilities has never been easier. Even with previous generations, you had a few telling numbers.
However, it is only in recent times that fans have had access to volumes of footage showing teams and players as they dominate in their craft. The fact that the information age allows fans to delve into the personal lives of athletes, providing a rounded view of any given player, not only their abilities but their personality, makes every difference.
There is no more room for myths in the NBA today. Players are only as good as you can prove they are. Rumors and retellings are no longer enough to create legends, which is why any kid today can provide a detailed analysis proving why Kobe Bryant isn’t nearly as impressive as some people say, and you would be hard pressed to argue the evidence.
However, some of these younger fans who are so quick to discard the legends of older generations of athletes must realize that the same thing will happen to their era of basketball.
The shine on their favorite players will fade, and a younger generation will rise and discard everything the present generation has to say about today’s NBA stars.
However, futile as the task might be, it is important to maintain the legend of previous basketball generations; their influence must be understood, their legacy protected in order to give the NBA the regal standing in history it deserves.