For years, there's been a debate about whether the NBA was better back in the day or nowadays.
Some argue that the players are better, more athletic, more talented, more completed, and better prepared nowadays. Others say that they're just too spoiled and that former players were tougher, both physically and mentally.
Unsurprisingly, Shaquille O'Neal seems to be a part of the latter group. Recently, he said that the NBA today is too sensitive, political, and soft:
“Very. Very sensitive. Very soft. Very political. And I hate this term. But people say this is the era we live in, so we have to accept it. One thing I will not accept it is, ok play being looked at as great play. I ain’t letting that s–t slide ever. I’ve been through the era of Mike, Charles, Malone, Stockton, all these great guys, so I know what greatness looks like. I said something about Donovan Mitchell one time and everybody start bashing me. But they not listening to what I’m saying. What I’m saying is I played with Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, D-Wade, LeBron James, Steve Nash. If you ain’t on that level, I don’t know what great is. He is a really good player, on his way. But to try to crown him as the next…If I’m not number 1 or number 2, don’t bring my name up ever," The Big Diesel said on the Full Send Podcast.
This doesn't come as a surprise as Shaq has often called out the players for the way they act. He's one of those who believe that they should play through injuries and try and bully their rivals.
Everybody's entitled to their opinion and, in reality, some players don't look as mentally tough as they were back in the day. But the game continues to evolve and, as fans, we should try and enjoy it a little more instead of keep comparing eras.