Lakers legend James Worthy opens up on if the NBA is more entertaining today
The NBA is more popular than ever. The NFL may still hold the top spot in this country as the most popular and profitable professional sports league, but the NBA is closing the gap with teams like the Los Angeles Lakers having global appeal, especially with superstar LeBron James being the face of the franchise.
Although the game is more popular than ever with players making an enormous amount of money and the league thriving in terms of revenue, the NBA has changed and is played much differently than it was during the Showtime era of the Lakers.
At an event in Los Angeles for the partnership between the Lakers, Anthony Davis, and First Entertainment Credit Union, Tomer Azarly and I spoke to James Worthy about today’s game. We asked if the game is more entertaining with defense sorely lacking and three-point shooting being priority No. 1 compared to when he played alongside Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on a squad that was pure entertainment.
“It is. It’s just the nature of the game. I’m old school,” Worthy on if the NBA is more entertaining today. “I heard Bill Russell say one time; they ran two plays for 16 years. [Everybody laughs] When teams stopped play 1, they went to 1A. When they stopped 1A, they went back to 1. Because that’s how the game is supposed to be played. I mean, back in the day, we knew that Robert Parish was setting that pick on Larry Bird but the fundamentals, if you run it properly, the defense has to give you something.
“I miss that part of it, but I’ve learned to gradually accept the new game. It is what it is. It’s grown. It’s entertainment. It’s global. So yeah. It’s interesting. That’s why you could see [James] Harden and these guys. I would have loved to see Michael Cooper or Sidney Moncrief or one of these guys guarding some of these prolific scorers. Not to say that they can stop them, but I would have loved to see that.”
Worthy’s time with the Lakers was incredible in terms of playing an exciting brand of basketball. Magic’s influence on the game changed the way it was played during the Showtime era with a fast-paced style that was unlike anything seen on a basketball floor in the NBA.
However, today’s game is also unlike anything we’ve seen in this league. Scoring is at an all-time high with players doing things that were unheard of before the Golden State Warriors changed the game with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson stretching the floor well beyond the three-point line while doing it efficiently.
Needless to say, the NBA is in a good place despite the drastic changes, and the Lakers are keeping by being one of the best teams in the league once again with championship aspirations for the foreseeable future.