I’m an old school cat who grew up watching NBC triple headers, Michael Jordan on WGN, The Human Highlight Film on TBS and bought every single NBA VHS tape Fox video put out. It would be an understatement to say that I loved the 80s and 90s, but I’m not sure I loved the decade and thought as highly of it as Kenny Smith.
On an episode of “Open Court,” The Jet explained why he thought the Reagan years were the “best” and “toughest” ever and why superstars of today don’t compare with the stars of the original NBA Superstars VHS tape.
“Guys who are stars would be average players in the 80s.”
That’s a tough statement to defend. I’ll admit that some All-Star centers playing today don’t have a resume that touches a Ewing or Hakeem. I’ll admit that some “stars” with $100 million+ contracts today wouldn’t make an All-Star team in the 80s, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling these guys average.
I also personally disagree with Kenny saying the “most fun” era is now, but I will say it’s the most accessible and interactive era ever because of social media and the amount of information and media being generated. So in that sense, it’s the most “fun,” but for an analog kid who couldn’t wait to play NBA Jam at the Mall arcade after school, seeing the end of the Magic/Bird era as Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Hakeem (and all the big men) dominated in their prime, while young players like Larry Johnson, Penny Hardaway, Shaq, Grant Hill and Jason Kidd grew in a league before the league grew, the 90s were the most fun.