The 1960s Celtics led by Bill Russell is one of the greatest — and by far most dominant — teams in NBA history. The lineup is deep with Hall of Fame players who owned a generation of the game.
And any team in today’s NBA would blow them out.
It’s a simple truth: The players of today are bigger, stronger, and faster than they used to be. Today’s NFL linemen would destroy their 1960s counterparts, and that is true of every sport. Genetic evolution, improved diet and training techniques have led to superior athletes. It doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of generations gone by, but the players have evolved to a new level.
Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas said we are forgetting that when talking about Michael Jordan.
Here is Thomas speaking to Chris Broussard of Fox Sports Radio about the modern player.
“What KD and LeBron are doing, if you put them back in the era of 80s with their talent, athleticism and skill… Who’s the GOAT?”
@IsiahThomas explains to @Chris_Broussard why this generation doesn’t get enough credit pic.twitter.com/orgM5kr2t6
— The Association on FOX (@TheAssociation) April 24, 2020
“I think this generation is not getting enough credit for what they’re doing because the athletes that are in this generation are so far superior than what was in my generation. Jordan was the best athlete that we had ever seen, from an athletic standpoint, there are like 10 or 11 guys in the NBA right now with Jordan’s athleticism. We didn’t have that back then. With what KD and LeBron are doing, if you put them back in the era of the ’80s, with their talent, their athleticism and their skill, who’s the GOAT?”
Now for context, Thomas is the leader of the Bad Boy Pistons — Jordan’s biggest rival, and the two teams do not like each other to this day. Of course Thomas is going to try and take Jordan down a peg.
That also doesn’t mean he’s wrong. The overall level of athleticism and conditioning in the NBA his higher now than it was a couple of decades ago. As a whole, the players today are better.
All of that can be true and Jordan can still be the GOAT.