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James Worthy Has Hot Take on Life of Today’s NBA Players

As the old saying goes, “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” Apparently, Hall of Famer James Worthy holds that adage true of today’s basketball players.

Worthy spoke with Detroit radio show Stoney & Jansen and talked about the state of today’s NBA. The three-time champion offered a critical assessment of contemporary players, particularly their preparedness upon entering the league.

“I mean, Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] had four years with John Wooden, Michael Jordan and I had three years with Dean Smith, Isiah [Thomas] had some years with Bobby Knight. So you learned the fundamentals,” Worthy said. “Not only that, you learned how to live. You learned how to balance your freaking checkbook in college; there’s a lot of things.

“When you don’t get that, guys are coming to the NBA who are not fundamentally sound. All they do is practice threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media. That’s it.”

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Worthy’s comments come in the midst of a postseason that’s featured a paucity of competitive games, with many blowout results that have deprived the run to the title of dramatic moments. Worthy didn’t directly tie his critique of today’s players with the current state of the playoffs, but expressed dismay at how the deficiencies he perceives have impacted the product on the court.

“So you don’t have that sound player; you have an athletic player,” Worthy said. “And that’s what’s happening to the game. It’s a lot of [isolation] and looking for mismatches. Bill Russell told me one time, ‘They had five options off of one play.’ You don’t see that anymore.”

Who knows how the younger players in the league feel about Worthy’s comments, but the NBA’s most online star—Kevin Durant—did weigh in and give some credence to the former Showtime Laker’s point of view:

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