The association has come a long way since the menacing days of players like Alonzo Mourning, whose teams often won games by simply being the more physical team on the floor. That was the way of the league back then. Using your hands while defending is a thing of the past.
During the 90’s, players like Zo made their living from physical, “big-boy” play in the paint. The sort of body-to-body contact that would draw a quick whistle in today’s NBA.
Alonzo spoke out recently via Pro Basketball Talk while promoting the Lincoln car brand. Zo said that he misses thew old NBA, but he also understands that the NBA is a business and this is the way that the league is marketed now.
“Image is everything,”Mourning said.“The great thing about this league is we have some great leadership in David Stern and he has expanded the brand, especially globally. Part of that is how we the players conduct ourselves on the court.
“But I’m not a fan of the quicker technicals, they seem to get a bit nit-picky about that. I’m old school, it was more physical, it was emotional, but it was an entertaining brand of basketball. People enjoyed it.
“But the game is in a great place, so they must be doing something right…. I don’ think it’s going t change unless a lot of owners and coaches really push for a change.”
Zo does a great job of sugar-coating what some athletes, including Baltimore Ravens safety, Ed Reed, would call “Powder-Puff Rules”. Many athletes, analysts and fans alike, believe that the NBA and other major sports have gone soft.
The reality of the situation is that the NBA will always look to bank some coin, and if protecting superstar players, or fashioning the rules in a way that teams are able to score more points and play less defense brings the viewers more excitement and causes them to attend more games, and buy more merchandise, then that is the direction the league will wander.
The power of the all-mighty dollar trumps most things in life, and sports are no exception. Games with higher scores and superstars with better averages tend to drive sales, and at the end of the day, a business is about how much money you can make. Even if the game’s integrity takes a hit.