I hear all the time that the NBA has the best athletes in the world. Sure, I hear this only from NBA fans, but still, thats what they say. But I say how? Of the 4 major sports, I feel that players in the NBA might be the 4th best athletically. Lets explore.
Most NBA players are there because of one reason, they are huge. About half of the league is filled with semi agile big men who are closer to the basket so they can get their job done with less strain. But these big men usually are injury plagued. Very few bigs can last in the league for a long period of time if at all.
All NBA players are babies. They complain about everything. They flop, they dive, and they project each little boo boo they endure to be life threatening. Want to argue this? Because I could post gif after gif after gif after gif of flopping and injury embellishment from JUST Lebron James, who is pretty much regarded as the best player in the world right now. I don’t even want to post an example because it infuriates me to watch. Best athlete in the world gets breathed on. Promptly dies. Gets carried off the floor. Returns minutes later with zero sign that anything ever happened. It’s hilarious.
I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous post but NHL players lose teeth, get stitches, dislocate appendages, and even DIE on the ice. And these circumstances usually cause them to miss maybe one or two shifts. When I mention the player dying, I am talking about Rich Peverly, who’s heart stopped during a game, was revived, and asked the doctor about going back in the game as he was being transported to the hospital. That is toughness. Carmelo Anthony sat out the last game of the season this year. The reason listed was (Rest). Toughness. Yep. I mean, just imagine Carmelo trying to do what he does, ON SKATES. Or any NBA player just trying to skate the length of the ice. I might actually watch that.
Football players and hockey players are monumentally more physical than basketball players. And some of that comes with the rules of the sport. But toughness isn’t just hitting and strength. It’s that unmatched competitiveness no matter the situation. You think the Milwaukee Bucks are going to play lock down, hard nosed defense against the Detroit Pistons for 4 quarters on January 8th? Not a chance. You think the Green Bay Packers are going to play extremely hard for 4 quarters against the Detroit Lions no matter what week they play? Hell yeah. And you could make the argument about season length, but then, you know NHL and NBA play the same amount of games. And if you watch a hockey game in December, it is just as intense as one in April.
Baseball is different. Definitely not intense and much more focused on one player at a time during the game. But the athleticism factor is sharp. Tell me this, would the average MLB player be able to make a basket? Probably. Everybody has played pick up basketball at some point in their life. Anybody can pick up a ball and make a couple shots. Basketball, as a game, is not hard. Shooting like Steph Curry or rebounding like Tim Duncan is very different. But now tell me this, could Curry or Duncan hit a 97mph fastball? Could they get Mike Trout out? Not a chance. Overall, professional baseball players are better athletes than professional basketball players. Just read this from ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian. Spot on.
So I would easily rank the level of athleticism of the 4 major sports like this:
Feel free to debate. That is what this site is all about. But as far as I’m concerned, NBA guys are just big, whiny, lazy, egotistical, non defenders that can shoot the ball in the basket better than the average human.