Here we are. The day before the NFL returns – which is my personal mark for the end of summer. This is when the sports world gets interesting again (for me) as we have multiple sports with meaningful contests on a daily/weekly basis. Normally in July/August, I spend way too much time following training camps, free agency, and reports from practice. Watching the NFL Network in the summer can leave with that guilty feeling of wasting hours of your life and getting dumber, similar to the feeling to realizing that Nick at Nite has been on in the background for hours.
But, this summer was different and I have NBA TV to thank. They did a magnificent job of getting into the brain of a dude like me. They put together a string of Hardwood Classics that made me ignore the SD 4:3 world of the 90s and just enjoy what the game was at that time. Damn, there were some great teams. I recently had the pleasure of watching the Magic, Hornets, Sonics, Warriors, Knicks, Pacers, Nuggets. Each of their starting 5s was ridiculous. Of course they also played a lot of Bulls games. Ahhhh, Da Bulls. I was as big of a Bulls fan as there was and their run of 6 titles in 8 years was a huge part of my sports adolescence. But what often gets overshadowed is how many other great teams there were back then. TEAMS. Teams that played together. Passed the ball. Hit jumpers. It was nice to watch. People act like the Spurs invented basketball lately… but if you watch any number of teams from the 90s that was just how you played. There were roles on each team. There were offenses and plays. It was nice to not have to watch a bunch of shot-clock draining, 1:1, isolation basketball. And let me tell you, what a difference it makes to watch a game without a complaint after EVERY call from the officials. It’s out of hand at this point. Back then, people took the calls and moved on. The flow was so much better, the game kept moving. Let’s hope the Warriors and the Spurs have sparked a hoops renaissance for the coming years. I know I’m sounding like a grumpy old man, but here’s one more thought about the 90s… the music was better back then too!!
Some other bulleted observations from the summer of my 90s hoops binge…
- Man, John Stockton’s shorts were really short. Those would barely be acceptable swimwear in 2015. Boxer briefs show less leg than those things!
- The mid-90s Orlando Magic… what could have been. Man, they were loaded.
- WTF uniform designer geniuses. 90s fashion was so boldly and blindly confident. The Pistons' horse. The Jazz’s gradient mountains. The Cavs' geometric shapes. Everything about the Raptors and Grizzlies. All featured in the 1998 All-Star game… eesh.
- I completely forgot Robert Parish played for the Hornets 94-96 and the Bulls during their 72-10 season. I watched multiple games with him, and I don’t think the dude could have jumped over an orange during those years.
- Jordan was the best. Just stop the discussion about LeBron. Watch the tape, count the rings. It’s not even close.
I miss you 90s basketball. Thanks for the great summer. Stay sweet.