Charles Oakley responded in disagreement to the recent rumblings that 82 games is too long for today’s NBA players and that it should be shortened.
According to a recent study, postseason injuries are at an all-time high, and players and researchers are starting to look at the long season as the culprit. Regardless of players resting more often by taking games off, or the fact that there are more advanced medicines and equipment available, there is a boom of injuries happening.
Oakley doesn’t agree with the notion that the number of games scheduled is necessarily the reason.
Oakley recently visited The Jump with Rachel Nichols to express his thoughts:
We played 82 games no problem back in our era. We didn’t rest. We did back-to-backs. We flew regular flights. We used to get up at 4:30 in the morning to catch a 6:30 flight. We had to get our own bags, get on the plane, get to the airport, get our bags, put them on the bus, it was part of a real job, and I think these guys now, they got it easy. It should be about the games. We’re getting paid to play. You get your body ready in the off-season. It’s a long haul, 82-game season, but everybody has to play.
Oakley believes other factors are getting in the way of proper rest, including 6-8 hour training days and early age training in AAU basketball (which burns players out at a young age). He suggests players train smarter, not harder.
Looking back at the consistency of his own 19-year career, Oakley played an average of 77-82 games for 12 years. He also played every game of the 1999 shortened lockout season. Twenty years in the NBA is a long time, and it takes more than talent to last that long. Oakley may have a point, since he has some serious knowledge about rest and longevity as a player himself.
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