Blog Entry

Reality vs Relativity

Posted on: October 19, 2008 3:35 am
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Sport is like a tradition. For some, they are etched in our skin. Our teams blood runs through our veins. From generation to generation of people, we have all flocked to watch, what was in that time, the superior physical (in most cases) specimens perform.

Key words there: What was in that time.

As sports fans we all have different opinions. A lot of what is going on today can be consenus, no matter what team or player we like. For example, the Minnesota Timberwolves aren't as good as the Los Angeles Lakers, it's a given. Pretty much every T'Wolves fan could admit that easily. But when comparing past players with current players, or just players from any different time period - Opinion can differ.

I'm sure we are all aware that as time goes on, technology improves. Humans get faster, stronger and smarter. So when comparing past players - We have to know at the back of our minds that players from the 1950s would get completely owned by a player of today.

We all know that George Mikan wouldn't make a starting lineup today, in fact he probably wouldn't even make the NBA.

We have to speak in relative terms when comparing players from different time periods.

I bring this up because I saw somewhere, a renewed debate. 2007-08 Patriots vs the 85 Bears. Surely we all know that the 07-08 Patriots would completely blow them out of the water. The Bears QB would get sacked heaps. The Bears O-Line would get man handled by the Patriots D-Line. Players are bigger and stronger.

We look at it, the top NBA players of all-time. You have players that could still make the NBA today, but players gradually getting stronger, faster, and better. Can you imagine what some of these athletes will be like in 2050??

The effect is seen more in the NFL, because players are bigger and stronger, O-Lines and D-Lines from 10-20 years ago would be small compared to the O-Lines...

Sports will always be with us, I can't wait, well I can wait...I don't want it coming too soon, but I can't wait till I'm watching NBA in 2060 and comparing them to LeBron James.




I know this isn't the type of blog that gets a lot of comments, because there isn't much to say in reply. I'm merely stating something, there is nothing to answer. Bu tI would appreciate any possible feedback on this.

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Category: General
Tags: Harbour
 
Comments

Since: May 22, 2008
Posted on: October 22, 2008 11:04 am
 

Reality vs Relativity

I can't wait till I'm watching NBA in 2060 and comparing them to LeBron James.

 

Well, it's a long shot, but not sure I will make it to 2060 to share that memory.  I decided to chime in here becaue, well, I am one of the "aged" posters and thought I would share my thoughts.

Saying George Mikan couldn't even make an NBA roster is pretty bold.  Why not?  Is it because he wasn't athletic enough?  Is it because he wasn't the right size?  I wish you would of said more than "we all know"... Because, I completely disagree with you there.  Sure he shouldn't of been taken in a Mock Draft first round of All-Time players.  That's a given.  But you're telling me that a man with that skill-set couldn't find his way on a team today.  Yea, look at most teams rosters, they are filled with athletic players that now are paid way too much because they can jump like a kangaroo and run like a cheetah.  I am older, but not old enough to have watched him play, but if players like a Ryan Bowen or Kevin Love can find there nitch in today's game, Mikan could to.  I'd take him as a PF on the Nuggets over K-Mart, and he's there. 

Saying that NFL offensive lines are sooo much bigger today and the Pats would blow the Bears out of the water... ok, I missed that debate on the NFL board but that's rediculous.  The two-time Superbowl Champ Broncos prove my point, they didn't have a single player on the Starting 0-Line over 300 pounds.  You don't win with size, they proved that.  Look at the greatest QB ever, yea - I am not referring to our beloved John Elway, but Joe Montana.  There's your perfect example of someone who didn't have the athletic ability, didn't have nimble legs or a cannon for an arm, he just was somehow better at making the perfect decision.  I think it's safe to say in 30 years QB's will be pushing 275lbs on average and posses rocket launchers as arms but I'd still rather have Montana because of his decision making.

Ok, and finally to the man of the hour, LeBron.  He is a freak of nature, sure.  You can argue that he won games to get to the finals because it's what the NBA needed, that's for another debate.  But each year he will continue to put up rediculous stats and be the best there was.  Thanks I still would rather have Larry Bird on my team at the same point in their careers.  And I don't care that LeBron missed the college life, you need to look at their NBA experience.  Bottom line is Bird possessed the "thing" that it took to be a winner, so did Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.  LeBron possesses an unmatched skill set, but until he trully lifts his teamates to be better players he will just keep being a stat machine only. 

Alright, that's what I got.  I am partial to older players, sure.  Maybe when some of you guys get up to my age you will be partial to players of today over the players of the future.  You'll be saying to the younger posters here, yea - LeBron James the 4th couldn't of done anything against his great great grandfather. 

Overall good post, it's what draws fans to debates.  It's what drew me into the All-Time contest.  Bigger and Stronger doesn't mean better, there can be plenty of examples, just scan through past NBA and NFL drafts and look at the first round busts that had all kinds of physical ability but not the "thing" that seperates the GOAT from Freaks of Nature...




Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2008 7:05 pm
 

Reality vs Relativity

If you saw HBO's special on Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, Hank summed it up best about comparing generations "let the records speak for themselves and just play"  us the "fans" will decide the rest.



Since: Jun 27, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2008 1:20 pm
 

Reality vs Relativity

I think a lot of personal baggage gets mixed up in all-time great discussions, players that fans remember and cherish (or despise) are generally remembered as a part of a time as a whole by the fan. George Mikan for example, was not only the first big man/ marquee player, but he was a relatively important figure to a lot of immigrants as well. Ask an older Jewish fan what they think of Sandy Koufax, or an older politically progressive fan about Muhammed Ali.

In reality, there is no greatest ever. There is no Harrison Bergeron (obscure literary reference of the day.)

To me then, there are three major reasons to discuss the all-time and they all have everything to do with the fan and nothing to do with the athlete.

1, and this is the biggest, it's just plain something to do. Existence is long, we're all looking for ways to fill the day. You're bored, your mind starts to wander and you're imagining just how Shaq would stand up to Kareem, or vice versa.

2, people want to have an identity battle without identifying themselves. This is the whole "it means something to me that x be considered better than y." There are a host of psychological reasons behind this but it sure does seem to bubble down to fans claiming identity through the relative position of their avatars/ favorite players.

3, people want to remember together. They want to share their feelings about an older time with people who were there at the same time.

I get your point NH, but I think that's just the tip of the iceburg. Of course technology increases the basic limitations of athletes (and here's where the identity issues gets initiated) but the criticism of many predominantly older fans is that "ahhh! But the wisdom and in-game smarts and skills are gone at the expense of high-fliers" which may or may not be true, but the point is, that most older fans feel their own physicalities going (God knows I do) and thus, a big portion of those same fans youthful identities (athleticism) being threatened informs the critique of the whipper snapper generation. Player x vs. player y more often than not becomes a debate concerning fan of player x v. fan of player y which is of course, as fruitless as most comprasions between players separated by 50 years.

If we as a group can keep the cause of our comparisons closer to the first and third reasons I put forward, then we move positively forward as a community. If we get too into number 2 than we become the college football boards.




Since: Sep 29, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2008 9:51 am
 

Reality vs Relativity

We all know that George Mikan wouldn't make a starting lineup today, in fact he probably wouldn't even make the NBA.

Poor DJTANKELITE, worst 1st round pick in the All Time Draft, and now NH says he wouldn't even make it in the NBA today.

Seriously though NH, this was a great blog and it just goes to show how hard it is to try and compare teams/players from different generations (why do we even bother with the All Time Draft ). Players do get better, faster, stronger as we continue to evolve.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com