Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been even more open with the media since he’s been sidelined with injuries. In Chicago on Monday night, Bryant discussed the ways in which he’s seen the game of basketball evolve since he’s been in the league. Positively, Bryant noted that basketball has gained a global audience and in turn expanded as a global brand with players from all around the world. Negatively, the sport is losing it’s physicality and ‘old school’ style of play, the type of game that Bryant grew up not being able to get enough of.
As Bryant explained his frustrations with professional basketball reverting away from physical contact, he pointed at the emergence of small ball, as taking away a bit of the fun out of the sport, a philosophy Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni not only employs, but is also arguably most known for.
“It’s more of a finesse game. It’s more of small ball, which personally I don’t really care much for,” Bryant admitted at the United Center as media members ears perked up.
Bryant even nodded yes with a grin, followed by, “It’s probably had an impact,” when asked specifically if D’Antoni’s philosophies have contributed to the change.
To go along with the sport losing it’s physical edge, Bryant called out the ridiculousness of today’s flagrant foul calls.
“Some of the flagrant fouls that I see called nowadays makes me nauseous. You can’t touch a guy without it being a flagrant foul.”
Bryant is, of course, exaggerating to make a point, and a point that’s been hammered, especially by the older generations of basketball legends for years. Something that’s not only infiltrating the sport of basketball, but professional sports in general. The National Football League is undergoing a quite comparable amount of fair criticism regarding overly limiting the physicality of the sport. At a certain point, the rigid restrictions take away from the sport that most fans fell in love with. Will it ever go back to the way it used to be? Unlikely, as Kobe pointed out, kids are a little “too sensitive,” these days.
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