Are NBA players friendlier with each other these days?

by on March 1, 2018 at 1:57 am in Sports | Permalink

From one recent ESPN report:

And Bird would always say, “Did Laimbeer make it? [the All-Star game]” And I would say, yes or no, and if it was no, he’d be like “Oh, good. Cause then when I get on the bus and he says, ‘Hi, Larry’ I don’t have to say, “F— you, Bill.” So we can bleep that out, OK? But that’s the old days.

Windhorst: I can actually hear Larry saying that.

MacMullan: That’s the old days. But the new days, these guys are all friends. I’m just amazed at the camaraderie between teams.

Today, ESPN presents “the three unwritten rules for NBA trash talking,” the first being “Don’t make it personal.”  The second is “Be quiet on the bench.”  Where’s the trash?

1 Nodnarb the Nasty March 1, 2018 at 2:05 am

Player’s union changed everything…


2 FG March 1, 2018 at 10:09 am

Also the AAU circuit, which means most NBA players have been regularly competing with and against other members of their draft class for at least 3-5 years before they enter the league. I don’t think AAU was really big until the late 90s.


3 FG March 1, 2018 at 10:17 am

…also the rise of free agency, which means players now have way more power to choose their team than they did 20 years ago. Makes sense that players would become less hostile as the boundaries between teams become more porous.


4 Patrick March 1, 2018 at 11:45 am

AAU competitions eventually led to this picture of LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade (that’s Gabrielle Union in the front):!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_1200/spl1072909-001.jpg

I wonder if playing on the USA national team together also helped lessen the animosity.


5 Saifullah Nahid March 1, 2018 at 12:38 pm
6 So Much For Subtlety March 1, 2018 at 3:39 am

ESPN is Fully Converged. So why would anyone believe a word it says?

The question is what would Journolist say? I expect they would say that it is important to downplay any sign of pathology among Black athletes. After all, what are the chances – that high-ego people with marginal self control are all friends despite the millions in endorsements they stand to gain if others fail, or EDPN is gliding the lily? Not really a tough call. It is likely that ESPN is lying.


7 The CM General March 1, 2018 at 4:03 am

You realize you are just a useful idiot for the Left, don’t you?


8 So Much For Subtlety March 1, 2018 at 4:27 am

Yes. But only because I work hard at it. Otherwise my efforts would be for naught. ESPN is still to journalism what, well, Pravda was to journalism. Why would anyone believe them?

In a previous thread I decried the cynical exploitation of school children (who weren’t even in the building where the shooting took place apparently) by hard faced adults from the Far Left. It turns out that they are being backed by MoveOn (its largest recent contributor being, of course, George Soros), Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Blomberg’s SuperPAC and, of all people, Planned Parenthood. Soros does not fund me.


9 clockwork_prior March 1, 2018 at 4:55 am

‘Why would anyone believe them?’

Yes, there is no question that this sort of reporting is obviously completely unbelievable –

Why anyone would ever believe ESPN’s reporting of NBA scores is the sort of thing that reveals just how much the hard left have managed to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone else.


10 Jan March 1, 2018 at 7:14 am

Well the kids are being exploited by the right, the NRA, gun makers (sales always go up when kids get shot). But please get mad because someone is finally listening to the victims, for once. Giant exploitation. Conspiracy.


11 The CM General March 1, 2018 at 11:07 am

Right but guys like you haven’t done anything to fight the dominance of the Left other than go on blogs run by people who want to destroy this country by letting the whole world in. At least veterans like me have done something but useful idiots like you are the reason the Left runs this country now.


12 P Burgos March 1, 2018 at 11:24 am

Wasn’t Pravda more principled? At the end of the day, isn’t ESPN just a celebrity news outlet, but just focused on sports? I mean, that is their business model. They are only trying to make a buck reporting on popular forms of entertainment.


13 Ray Lopez March 1, 2018 at 6:28 am

Basketball is hard. Ignoring the 1950s, where the players averaged about 33% field goal percentage (FG%), today’s players, even average ones, make almost half their shots on average. So the difference between a “superstar” like LeBron James, who shoots a bit over 50%, and an average player, is just a few percentage points. I’m not counting “effective field goal percentage” which I think adjusts for the fact a three-point shot is 1.5 times more points than a two-point shot.

See for yourself: (1990-91, MJ’s best year, he shot 53.9% in FG%) (1990-91, the league average was 47.4% for FG%)

Bonus trivia: arguably–and I am not an expert on basketball–the greatest basketball player of all time, adjusted for height–and Michael Jordan even paid him a compliment, was the Greek superstar “Nikos Galis” ( who shot a career average of over 50%, but–this is key–he was only 6 feet high (!). The Croatian superstar Drazen Petrovic ( had similar numbers but was a full five inches taller (6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)), which makes a big difference in basketball. The Philippine basketball teams also, adjusted for height, are the best “inch for inch” players in the world at the moment, as the do surprisingly well in international southeast Asia competitions (usually losing to Australia or Iran, who are much taller).


14 DanC March 1, 2018 at 8:29 am

And the award for tallest dwarf goes to………


15 Tenhofaca March 1, 2018 at 3:14 pm

It’s like having the biggest penis in third grade.


16 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Wouldn’t that correlate with having the biggest one as an adult?


17 thfmr March 1, 2018 at 5:20 pm

Not if you’re the teacher.

18 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 5:36 pm

{spit take/LOL emoji}

19 steve March 1, 2018 at 9:53 am

“The Philippine basketball teams also, adjusted for height, are the best “inch for inch” players in the world at the moment”

You’re underrating short NBA players by a lot. Any of the short dudes in the NBA are miles better (than Nikos Galis, too). For example, Isaiah Thomas averaged 29 points and 6 assists a game last year on elite efficiency before his hip exploded, and he’s probably shorter than his listed 5’9 height.


20 Ray Lopez March 2, 2018 at 9:54 am – terrible FG%, about league average. His Hall of Fame same namesake was also an average shooter. No, Nikos Galis was better, on paper.


21 FG March 1, 2018 at 10:05 am

The difference between an average player and a superstar is more than a few points of FG %, since superstars generally take (and make) more difficult shots and shoulder more of the load of creating offense in general.


22 zbicyclist March 1, 2018 at 11:36 pm

Amen. You don’t get to try the type of shots Steph Curry makes … unless you are Steph Curry.

Curry’s coach — Steve Kerr — was a great 3 point shooter. But he also benefited from the defense’s attention to Michael Jordan.
e.g. last shot of 1997 NBA finals


23 Ray Lopez March 2, 2018 at 9:59 am

Well, what you say is unprovable hence not scientific, but you can also argue that due to the “pecking order” in the NBA, the bench warmers cannot take a shot freely, since if they miss the shot, the first string players will get mad. Also it’s well known that superstars like to shoot the ball. So you can argue that ‘shouldering the load’ is something the superstars insist on.

Food for thought: the San Antonio Spurs showed that NOT giving the ball to your big man / star, but rotating average players in and out (as should be done, but is not, in American football with the QB) works. The Spurs had a phenomenal run of championships with more or less ordinary international (read: Nikos Galis type) or non-first draft choice players (Twin Towers aside).


24 collin March 1, 2018 at 11:49 am

The difference of the best player in the MLB and average player is the best players get 30 – 40 more hits a year or about an average hit every third game. The difference of a great running back and a good running back is .3 yards per carry.


25 Ray Lopez March 2, 2018 at 10:01 am

My point exactly collin, thanks. It’s not that big a deal, and personalities drive these metrics (“gimme the ball coach” says your superstar, and why should you upset him?). Team sports is not a race where a few inches decide the outcome (most of the time, I’m sure however you can cite many special cases to the contrary).


26 Steven White March 1, 2018 at 8:15 am

Isn’t Bill Laimbeer the worst person to use as an example? He was a total animal on the court—no wonder people hated him. Maybe Rodman was worse but that’s it.


27 mpowell March 1, 2018 at 2:25 pm

I was going to say that in today’s NBA, applying physical abuse to your opponents is no longer tolerated. If you played Bill Laimbeer his aim was to threaten bodily harm to either remove you from the game or restrict you play options. His skill was in understanding how to do this within his 6 foul limit and without getting ejected. In today’s game, he would run into his limit faster and a lot of the opportunities he took that really did physical damage would result in flagrant fouls or immediate ejections.

Surely this also has an impact on how players feel about each. Though it doesn’t really speak to Bird-Johnson animosity of the time.


28 Mike March 1, 2018 at 8:32 am

Where’s the next Meta Worldpeace?


29 clamence March 1, 2018 at 9:24 am

Draymond Green has his moments. Punching LeBron in the scrotum probably cost GS the championship, but was totally worth it.


30 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 11:53 am

Well yeah considering the punch was immediately after LeBron deliberately put that scrotum on Draymond’s head.


31 clamence March 1, 2018 at 1:28 pm

That wasn’t Green’s first scrotum attack, though he prefers kicks to fists and I admit that it was encouraged by LeBron’s alpha-male act. Good for Green not playing the role of Tyronn Lue to LeBron’s Iverson.


32 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 1:42 pm

He’s stopped the wild kicks lately, thank god.


33 casey March 1, 2018 at 10:20 am

Nope :
Wesley Johnson would disagree with you today.. (and in 10 years from now also.. when the video from last night is still being shown)


34 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 11:55 am

That was filthy. Love that stuff, makes the NBA fun.


35 cory March 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm

that was beautiful. instant classic NBA moment, and just what Harden needed to solidify his MVP status with detractors


36 clamence March 1, 2018 at 11:28 pm

I never doubted Harden could play well (on offense) but I’m too soured on his rediculous foul-drawing tactics to ever admire him because he made almost every game he was in unwatchable.


37 msgkings March 2, 2018 at 11:31 am

THIS. Thank you. He’s obviously extremely talented but I just do not like his game at all. And he’s kind of gutless too, quits on his team in the playoffs all the time when it’s obvious they can’t compete.


38 collin March 1, 2018 at 11:50 am

Are NBA players friendlier with each other these days?

Probably so but I believe that is true with any sport. MLB players are certainly more friendly compared to Ted Williams, Roger Horsnby or Ty Cobb.


39 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 11:54 am

Winner. They are all making too much money to blow it by being surly, fighting, getting suspended, etc. It’s a different world in sports than before. Legendary NBA players like Charles Barkley made in their whole careers what a guy like Kevin Durant makes in a year.


40 Ted Craig March 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

There is an interesting moment in Liebling’s “The Sweet Science” in which the author visits Syracuse for a fight. The players for the Ft. Wayne Pistons happen to stay at his hotel as they are playing in the NBA championship. Liebling spends a paragraph on them and it’s clear the NBA finals are a sports side note to the prize fight happening that weekend.

Times have changed.


41 middyfeek March 1, 2018 at 6:55 pm

The fact that the championship was between Fort Wayne and Syracuse says it all. Incidentally, they were originally the Ft. Wayne ZOLLNER Pistons, because they were owned by a man named Fred Zollner (and he made pistons).

Other teams that are long gone: Rochester Royals, St. Louis Bombers (no I don’t mean the St. Louis Hawks), Providence Steamrollers, Chicago Stags, and there was a team in Sheboygan Wis. for God’s sake.

But pro basketball got much, much bigger and boxing got much, much smaller.


42 middyfeek March 1, 2018 at 7:00 pm

P.S. In the age of the three pt. shot how could there be a better nickname than Bombers?

43 Known Fact March 1, 2018 at 11:46 pm

Don’t forget the Buffalo Braves, Cincinnati Royals and Kansas City Kings

44 triclops41 March 1, 2018 at 3:07 pm

The people mentioning AAU and free agency are right. But the other thing is that the NBA is a lot less violent than it used to be, especially concerning cheap shots. Guys don’t forget those things. Pippen always remembered Rodman’s shot. Bird remembered Lambeer’s.
It’s much easier to be friends with a guy who outplays you but doesn’t smash you to keep you from making a layup.


45 MyTyrone March 1, 2018 at 4:23 pm

White people are crazier than blacks, even about sports.


46 Ryan T March 1, 2018 at 8:51 pm

The league has become more professional — and in my opinion more enjoyable — in almost every respect since the 1980s. It makes sense that trash would decline. I also don’t see how someone who watched Isaiah Thomas play through what he played through in last season’s playoffs and then get traded from Boston to a conference rival conclude that they should demonstrate loyalty through trash talking to their current team and franchise.


47 Mr. Lazy March 2, 2018 at 11:24 am

Friends don’t play that hard against friends when there’s nothing on the line.


48 Jackob March 6, 2018 at 3:25 am

When they talk after the game it’s always friendly whether it’s about the game or not. When players are upset they don’t talk they exit to the lockerroom. Depending on the players relationship it could be a simple form of respect like, “good game” or if they are good friends it might be, “you couldn’t guard my jumper all game” or an observation like, “did you see the fan busy their butt courtside?” Whatever they say it’s pretty much friendly small talk.


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