NBA heroes of the 90s – were they tougher than today’s stars?

Editor’s note: The following is a sponsored post on a very relevant topic for SpreeGoogs.

Have NBA players lost their edge? Are they not as tough as players in the 1990s? Dennis Rodman seems to think so – and he may have a valid point.

Rodman is no stranger to courting controversy. In fact the word controversy was pretty much created with him in mind. But he recently made a statement on the Dan Patrick Show that got me thinking. He said that if LeBron James had played in the 90s, he would have been considered just an average player.

After new rules came into play, are all NBA players not as tough as those from the 90s? Is Rodman being his usual outrageous self? Or have stricter rules, harsher punishments and performance enhancing drugs made the NBA go soft?

The 90s produced players like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson who played a much harsher game physically, with a good dose of heavy defense a key part of a team’s success. The gradual removal of  original NBA defensive rules has a lot to do with this change, and if LeBron had taken many of the shots pre-rule changes that he took in these Finals, they would have been much more difficult. The enforcer mindset and physicality of the old guard was impressive and is lacking in today’s game.

Rodman is, and always will be, an iconic figure in the NBA and he is still a respected, if outspoken, authority on the game. LeBron has won MVP four times already and could compare his awards to winning the jackpot at in basketball terms. He has yet to comment on the frenzy Rodman is creating and seems unphased; possibly because he knows he is at the top of his game. In this era anyway.

One of Rodman’s complaints is that LeBron is constantly compared to Michael Jordan. What he fails to realize is that his complaint underscores the fact that this is a new era of basketball and it is near impossible to fairly compare them. Nevertheless, both players are big stars of their time. Perhaps sports stars of today are not as tough or physical as those in the 90s, but is it really their fault the NBA has made so many rule changes?