For those of you reading this on brandonmay.com, here's a quick explanation. I post a lot of my stuff from my Mavs blog on a site called Newsvine. Since I'm kind of a big deal, I've made a few mutual NBA friends. Two of those friends, Jordan Rivas (a Spurs fan) and Todd Dybas (a Celtics fan), have solicited me to help them with a little case study. We are debating which era of the NBA is better. Todd is taking the 80's, Jordan is taking the 90's, and I am taking the present era from 2000 to now. Here I will debate why the current era of the NBA rocks your panties off to an unprecedented extent.
And here's my debate:
The NBA of the current era is not without its flaws, but it's still super rad. The current NBA could kick you in the giggleberries, steal your girlfriend, and slap your mother's face, but you would still elect it mayor of Awesomeville. It's not driving around the high school parking lot in an IROC Camaro blaring Whitesnake, honking at the chicks. It's not dancing around in parachute pants with "Word to your Mother" bedazzled on the back of it's jacket, claiming to be from the streets. This NBA has a dress code, allowing even the ugliest and thuggish players to look like GQ cover models that you would love to invite over for Thanksgiving. I mean, what makes you forget about that neck tattoo of one of their baby mama's names like a nice hounds tooth sport coat?
The NBA now has the luxury tax, which allows teams to exceed the cap but with a penalty. That process isn't perfected yet, but I think it helps more teams stay competitive. You have a rookie salary scale that forces younger players to prove themselves before landing that huge contract. You have dynasties, you have drama, and you have some of the best young talent this league has seen in quite some time. But let's get to the players.
You have Shaq. Sure he came into the league in the early 90's, but he didn't start winning rings until 2000. More importantly, he did stop making movies.
You have Tim Duncan. Sure he's about as exciting as watching a turd dry out in the sun, but he's got 4 rings in the last 9 years and is arguably the most reliable, consistent, fundamentally sound big man in the game today. One of the greats.
You have my man Dirk Nowitzki. Sure his recent playoff failures are well documented, but he's single handedly redefined what the NBA can expect out of a 7-foot power forward with how he shoots, handles the ball, runs the floor and creates defensive nightmares.
You have Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, and Kobe Bryant. Sure T-Mac has never made it out of the first round, Agent Zero sometimes talks a little more than he should, and Kobe's a rapist. But either of these guys can put up electrifying offensive numbers night in and night out. They are consistent 50+ point threats on any given night.
You have veteran stars like Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Jermaine O'Neal, Allen Iverson, Michael Redd, Alonzo Mourning, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry, Baron Davis, Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Mike Bibby. All these guys have been in the league for more than 6 years, but most of them have continued to play at a high level and be a pivotal component for their teams.
But the most impressive thing about the current era of the NBA, what makes it so exciting, both right now and for the future, is the list of players that have been in the league for 6 years or less, which means that barring injury this list of talented, electric young players still have many years to entertain us, are loaded with potential, and most of them haven't even entered their prime yet. Let me throw out a little list, and tell me if this does anything for you.
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Martin, Josh Howard, Devin Harris, Yao Ming, Pau Gasol, Andre Iguodala, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Lebron James, Tayshaun Prince, Carmelo Anthony, LeMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Jason Richardson, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, Chris Kaman, Leandro Barbosa, Boris Diaw, and Amare Stoudemire. How do you like that? Blow your mind? I know.
Every era of the NBA has it's pros and cons both off the court and on. This current era has seen unprecedented on-court brawls, referee gambling scandals, players running afoul of the law, and a power hungry commissioner that is becoming a little behind the times and losing some of his luster. But when it comes down to it, it all boils down to one thing and that's the players on the court and how they perform. From top to bottom, I think the current era of the NBA has more talent, from both veteran stars and promising young players, than ever before. That is the reason to celebrate. That is the reason to watch the regular season. That is the reason the current era of the NBA will rock your panties off. That is the reason that right here, right now, today's NBA is the best.
Please take a moment to read Todd and Jordan's arguments in favor of the other two eras, and be sure to tip your waitress. I'll be here all week.
Oh, and Go Mavs!