NBA Commish Says Basketball Was ‘Too Physical’ in Late ’90s

For NBA fans longing for the return of the physicality of the 1990s, that day likely won’t be coming any time soon.

Speaking to former player Kevin Garnett on his show Certified, league commissioner Adam Silver said he believed the game became “too physical” in the later part of the decade and it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing.

“It de-emphasized the particular skill a player had and maybe weighed too heavily on physicality,” Silver said, “where a big, strong player could come in and prevent an incredibly skilled player from doing those kinds of things.

“I think of — not that he’s a small guy — but a smaller player like Steph Curry, (what he) can do on the floor. I think that when you think of some of his ability to shoot, his ability to move through the paint, that if guys could just bang him and knock him to the ground — as that was once the case in the league — I don’t think that would be a better brand of basketball.”

For years now, there’s been a growing sentiment that the NBA has gone “soft” due to rule changes lowering the threshold for personal fouls. That lower threshold has also paved the way for “flopping.”

Silver said the league is actively working to strike a balance.

“I also think we have to find the right balance,” he said. “Because I know when I sit in the stands, or talk to friends sometimes, they want to bring back — and we’ve tried to bring back a little bit more of the physicality. Like, I think people like to see hard defense.

“In fact, we made some changes this season where, sort of, the unnatural basketball moves — you know what I’m referring to — (were penalized). Players were gaming the system in a way. Brilliant players playing by the rules had finally found ways where those were becoming defensive fouls.”

In addition to that rule adjustment made in the 2022 offseason, the league is now considering penalizing flops with a technical free throw.

Watch above via Showtime