It's no secret that the NBA has changed a lot over the past few decades. In the 80s and 90s, the game was very rough and physical, which is why strong big men dominated at such an impressive scale.
Today, the league is much more about ball-handling and shooting than anything else. Guys use speed and agility to create their own shot and the rules of defense are a lot stricter than they used to be.
These differences often make for some interesting debates in the NBA community.
Recently, former NBA star Gilbert Arenas chimed in with his thoughts on the subject, explaining why 80s and 90s players couldn't keep up with players today.
(via VLAD TV)
"80s people think fouling was defense. 'Oh yeah we're just gonna wrestle them...' that's not defense. That's not actual defense. He's just fouling me and hoping that I don't wanna do it anymore. You didn't actually stop me, you just f*cking fouled me until I wanted to give up. I laugh at it because I watched the game evolve. Some of you can evolve, the way you play the game was better, it was more advanced than what you guys were at.
Like Toni Kukoc, a Scottie Pippen. Those guys can actually play because their attributes transcended. you guys were the prototypes that moved forward. Dennis Rodman: undersized four who could guard any position. Okay, you're Draymond Green, okay.
You guys are prototype ones. These guys, they've evolved. They've made that position better."
It sounds almost disrespectful to hear Arenas dismissing old-school ballers so easily. But it's hard to ignore the point he's making here.
As time goes on, players get better and better at the game of basketball. New ways to play and dominate the sport are discovered and, over time, players master them.
What many players today are doing easily was a rarity in the 80s and 90s. The truth is, today's players have evolved to a point where they do many things a lot better than they were done years ago.