The NBA has grown to be too soft. Flagrant ones and twos have taken over the game and have made trash talk obsolete. The increased emphasis from referees on flagrant fouls and taunting has made the NBA walk away from the hardnosed, heated battles of the 90s.
The wars between the New York Knicks and Reggie miller, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, or Michael Jordan and the “bad boy” Detroit Pistons were some of the greatest series of all time because of the hate the teams had for each other. There was no love lost between the two. It was win at all costs and take names while doing it.
Now, or at least for the past decade, this style of play has diminished as a result of increased points of emphasis on enforcing it. Just a few weeks ago in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, Milwaukee Bucks guard Giannis Antetokounmpo was T’d up because he blocked DeMar Derozan then proceeded to celebrate.
Really ref? You’re going to T up one of the best young talents in the league for a gesture like this? Antetokounmpo did not even direct it towards Derozan or the Toronto bench; he was just pumped for the play he made and celebrated accordingly.
These types of calls are ones that have defined the NBA over the past few years and is the direct cause of the decline of the hard knocks NBA we once knew.
But wait, not so soon. There still may be some hope left. Over the past few days, the second round of the NBA playoffs have showed hints of the ruthless NBA of the 90s. Of course, it is nowhere as extreme as it once was, but the trash talk has been much more common than it has over the past few years.
The series that has embodied this emerging trend is the Celtics vs. Wizards. The Wizards started out by wearing black to the opening game of the series to symbolize that they were going to a funeral. Ever since then, saying this series was hostile would be an understatement.
In game three, eight technicals were assessed while three players were ejected from the game.
In the Western Conference, a similar type of playing environment has emerged. Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors have thrown out every unwritten rule of the NBA and are taking an “us vs. the world” mentality.
KD and Draymond to Gobert after he misses his two flagrant free throws: "Bitch ass." … "Waste of time!" pic.twitter.com/CQUXF8HItn
— Sherwob Holmes (@World_Wide_Wob) May 7, 2017
Come on. This is great and as a diehard NBA fan, I could not be happier about this. NBA playoffs are always one of the most anticipated events in the sports world. This year, however, because of this rising animosity between certain teams, it seems that everyone is much more excited for the next game.
What is the downside with being a bit laxer with the types of rules that restrict trash talk? This will attract more viewers, more social media interaction and higher ratings for the networks carrying these games.
These rules were put in place to make sure no one will get hurt physically. As long as it is enforced to prohibit this, I don’t see a problem with letting teams get in each other’s faces little more.