I understand that a majority of NBA fans could care less what a former basketball great thinks about the current state of the league. However, it’s rather interesting to read what Gary Payton has to say about it, especially since he was a huge part of the NBA not too long ago.
The fact that one of the greatest defense point guards in the history of the league is not afraid to talk poorly about the NBA proves just how far it’s fallen off as a sport.
Let’s be honest. The attendance has continued to drop, and the game is nowhere near as entertaining as it used to be. More basketball fans would prefer to watch college basketball than the pros and for good reason. One really only needs to tune into the fourth quarter to feel the complete excitement of a contest, assuming that it’s not a complete blowout by then.
Payton was asked several questions during an Oregon State University press conference about accepting a possible coaching job in the NBA. The reason for the press conference was because Oregon State honored Payton this past Saturday for his incredible collegiate career.
“People want me to go into coaching, but I don’t like this basketball as it is right now in the NBA, so I don’t want to coach. I want to do the things that make me happy,” Payton said, according to the Score.
Obviously, the members of the media wanted Payton to go into detail about his statement, which of course opened the floodgate.
“Basically everything,” Payton continued. “It’s no defense, it’s just run and gun. To me, there’s only three point guards in the NBA that impress me; I got Chris Paul, [Rajon] Rondo, and another kid that I like a lot and I forgot his name right now. Oh, and Tony Parker. That’s only three NBA players in there.
There’s too much touch fouls. Every time you touch and they stay on the free throw line. That’s no way to watch basketball. When we were playing, it was rough and tough. Even superstars like me fouled out a lot. That’s because they let people play, and if you do something then you call it. But nowadays it’s not like that and this is the era.
This is what kids want to see. You see these Playstations, they scoring 50 and 60 with one player, that’s what they want to see on TV and I don’t go with that. My era, give me one-on-one with somebody and stop him and right now you can’t do that with a player because if you touch him he’s going to the foul line and you’re fouling out. Let him be rough. If he got an opportunity to go at you in the offensive end, let me go at him on the defensive end and rough him up. So that’s the way I like basketball and I don’t think it’s like that.”
Payton certainly makes several good points. The NBA has turned into an offensive league. The reason for that is because the powers that be want to put fans in the stands, which is only going to happen when LeBron James and Kevin Durant are putting up 30 points per night. Turn on SportsCenter and the only basketball highlights will be dunks or impressive offensive runs. Sure, there are a couple of blocks thrown into the mix, but the majority is offense.
Personally, the NBA has become way too boring. I enjoy watching games, but it’s become difficult to cheer for teams when there’s no way they can compete with the Miami Heat and other powerhouses. Unfortunately, it appears the league has grown accustom to the offensive supremacy, which means Payton’s era of basketball will remain dead.