I was reading an article at Yahoo Sports this week about how Steve Nash’s steak of being the point guard on the top rated offence in the NBA was coming to an end. The last nine seasons (2001-02 through 2009-10) Nash has been synomonous with high octain offensive proficiency.
It all ends this season as Nash’s Pheonix Suns have seen their usually effective run and gun offence slip down to 9th in the league.
Here is what comes to mind when I read of an amazing streak like this coming to an end.
Who are the players who have forever changed the game of Basketball?
Now I am a Nash fan and I love how he has brought excitement to the NBA but I would not consider him be one of those players who has dramatically changed the direction of the game of Basketball.
Here are our TOP 7 Basketball players who have influenced the game.
1. Wilt Chamberlain
When Wilt Chamberlain was in high school, he had a unique way of shooting free-throws. He would stand at the top of the key, throw the ball up toward the basket, take two steps, jump toward the rim and jam the ball through the net.
Doing this resulted in basketball rules to state that a player cannot cross the plane of the free-throw line when shooting a free-throw.
2. Michael Jordan
All I will say is “The Jordan Rules.”
When the Detroit Pistons decided to get physical with Jordan in order to slow him down, little did they know it would change the NBA forever. The league became misserable for all guards since defenders were allowed to do anything they wanted in order to slow down the quicker players.
What did David Stern do?
He swung the pendulum away from the physical play. Today quick guards can not be controlled by the defenders hands or physical play. They are forced to move their feet and use good Defense strategies. The Jordan Rules created a purer game of Basketball in the NBA.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor)
When Lew Alcindor began playing basketball in college for UCLA, the NCAA did not like that he could dunk with ease. What did they do? They made it illegal to dunk in college games. This was called this the “Alcindor Rule.”
As a result of the rule, Alcindor developed a pretty good hook shot. Just so you know, that rule has been removed. Blake Griffin thanks the NBA for that change.
4. George Mikan
George Mikan was the first real big guy in the NBA (6’10”). In fact he was so big that he dominated the narrow key of that era. What did the league do? They widened the key and came up with the 3 second rule. Well done Mr. Mikan.
5. Fab Five
When Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson walked onto the University of Michigan campus during the fall of 1991, they likely had no idea they were going to be the catalyst that would change basketball forever.
Now we have baggy shorts and black socks. Check out this documentary we posted a while back.
6. Kermit Washington
In 1977 Kermit Washington punched Rudy Tomjanovich really hard. So hard in fact that Tomjanovich almost died.
The result was tougher consequences for fighting. Before “The Punch” brawls were common in the NBA. After the incident fighting and the penalty for it was taken more seriously. Just ask Ron Artest.
7. Lebron James
Moses Malone and Daryl Dawkins went to the pros right out of High School. It was rare at the time for athletes to play professional basketball so young.
By the time Lebron James finished High School the NBA had seen enough. These young men needed time to mature so today it is no longer possible to be drafted to the NBA right out of High School.
Was Lebron good enough? For sure, he is an amazing talent. The better question would be was he given the proper chance to mature as a person? That might be a good question for a Caviler’s fan.
Who do you think was instrumental in changing the game of basketball?