The current era of NBA basketball has gotten its fair share of criticism by former pro players, mostly from the 80s, and media pundits who all feel the talent therein is protected from egregious contact by the whistle and the rules. As a result, they feel the game is far less physical and the era is considered “soft.”
Stephen A. Smith is among that legion of critics and expressed as much this week on ESPN’s “First Take.”
While making a point that called the legacy of LeBron James into question, in connection with Michael Jordan, Smith made it clear that, in his opinion, James does not deserve to be considered the greatest and should never be compared to Jordan. His reasoning: the era (this one) he has played in is considerably less physical in its nature than that of the 80s.
In essence, he called a pantheon of players, which coincidentally includes Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest), “soft.” World Peace was diametrically opposed to that idea and expressed as much on his Twitter account.
“Lebron is not playing in the softest era. I was in his era. And we all know I could’ve easily played in that 80’s era. I know players that played in the era coming out the 90’s that didn’t want any real smoke. All you commentators and players , never call my era soft,” Metta wrote. “1999 draft had one of the toughest players ever. I will not let you guys and girls call my era soft. I would’ve loved to play in an era where you can scrap. That’s the type of ball we like.”
Lebron is not playing in the softest era. I was in his era. And we all know I could’ve easily played in that 80’s era. I know players that played in the era coming out the 90’s that didn’t want any real smoke. All you commentators and players , never call my era soft.
— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorld37) October 9, 2020
Former Celtic and Thunder forward Kendrick Perkins agreed:
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) October 9, 2020
Be that as it may, users had a field day chiming in, many of which provided hard-hitting examples as to why the 80s era of NBA basketball was perhaps the most physical ever. Others acknowledged World Peace for his willingness to bring it consistently.
I don’t see any of this happening in today’s game
— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) October 9, 2020
Ain’t NOTHING soft about this 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/EJAVNl0wNW
— CHRISonTOPofHER™️🇲🇬 (@KCthaHitman45) October 9, 2020