Connect with us
NBA, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry

We forget the power of environment when debating how today’s NBA stars would fare in certain eras

“The Last Dance” documentary tickled the fancy of many sports fans and writers over the course of a month. The documentary put the spotlight on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ reign over the NBA in the 1990s, while also keying in on the former’s competitive drive.

Naturally, this has sparked debate on social media and with sportswriters on who is greater: LeBron James or Jordan? But another topic that has been broached: could current NBA stars like LeBron, Kevin Durant, or Stephen Curry dominate in Jordan’s era?

Of course they could. It’s called adapting to your environment.

In the case of Durant and LeBron, sometimes sportswriters and friends forget that we as humans adapt to our environment. It’s the call of human nature: we respond and react to the environment and scenarios presented to us.

So why don’t we think that LeBron and KD would respond positively to Jordan’s era of the NBA?

Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kevin Durant

This is the year 2020. Social media is prevalent and talks of mental health are in vogue. Now more than ever players are open to expressing their feelings and their mental state. In Jordan’s era of the NBA? Not so much.

Too often our older peers look down on the new generation. As you get older, you don’t think as you did when you were younger. But it’s important to keep things in context, and usually, our older peers do not.

Part of it could go back to sports fans and writers being protective of their time growing up. As adults, it’s easy to look at our experiences and become protective of the things we endured. NBA players of yesteryear could have a hard time admitting that the present-day NBA is as tough as it was when they played. It’s a scenario of human behavior that will probably never end.

But the other half of this critique is just not understanding the importance of the environment with our behavior. If I grew up in the 1980s, it’s a strong chance I wouldn’t agree to NBA superteams. It’s an even stronger chance I wouldn’t even agree to load management. But I grew up in the 2000s and became an adult in the 2010s. I played youth basketball and AAU just like LeBron and KD. With all of the mileage on their bodies and mine, I totally get it.

However, Jordan’s era didn’t consider these factors nor cared to. Players were expected to play in every game and play through injuries.  It was also an expectation for players to be tough and physical.

Remember the keyword used: expected.

LeBron James,Kevin Durant, Lakers, Nets, Skip Bayless

If LeBron and KD were in the ’80s NBA, they would have already adapted to the landscape of the times. Even in a worst-case scenario, if LeBron starts flopping and whining, opposing players would take advantage of this, calling him weak-minded. As for Durant, his sensitivity and need for validation wouldn’t be held in high regard. In a league that’s full of men’s men, Durant would have no choice but to adapt and grow up.

But this is how humans work. We adapt to our environment and climates around us. If we don’t, it will only make it tougher. If you go into the military, you adapt to its environment because if you don’t, well, let’s just say it won’t be pretty.

It’s the same when our elders try to say millennials/Generation Z would not survive in “their” era of youth. We could because we wouldn’t have a choice. Social media and advanced technology didn’t exist back then. So what would we do? You guessed it: go outside and play just like everyone else.

So when the argument comes up about whether LeBron or KD could play in Jordan’s era, let’s keep in mind that we are capable of adapting. They wouldn’t have a choice but to survive their era. We tend to not use this basic psychological fact when we have these discussions.

And, for what it’s worth, LeBron and KD would absolutely dominate Jordan’s era of the NBA. Especially, when they see how the climate is.