My NBA sweet spot was Kareem, Cedric Maxwell,, George Gervin, Bernard King, Alex English, Artis Gilmore, Julius Erving, Purvis Short, Adrian Dantley, Scott Wedman, Elvin Hayes, David Thompson, Sidney Moncrief, Mark Aguirre, Jack Sikma, young Bird and Magic.It does suck, though. Not necessarily the skill because that's off the charts, but the product in general.
In the last golden age which was late 80s through the mid nineties it was a ridiculously exciting thing to watch. You had heroes and villains that you could root for and hate. It was a physical game that had larger than life personalities and it was definitely not a bunch of 133-119 three point contests. It was almost like pro basketball meets WWF with all of the huge personalities and story lines
There was a time when you had Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan, Shaq, Scottie Pippen, Bill Laimbeer, Isaiah Thomas, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Manute Bol, Spud Webb, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, John Stockton, and James Worthy all in the league and sometimes playing on the same night. It was fucking glorious and it was actually fun to watch. Today's NBA is made up of a bunch of whiny divas Like James and Westbrook more worried about how many rest days they get than mixing it up in the paint.
Again, it's not the skill level when people say the product is shit. I personally don't give a fuck if Steph Curry can make 47 threes in a row or James Harden can travel backwards 8 feet and hit his fadeaways. That's what the Harlem Globetrotters are for.
What I want to see is Bill Laimbeer and Larry Bird in a death match and Jordan kicking everyone's ass while he's almost dead from the flu, or Dennis Rodman getting booed by the visiting crowds when he blocks Isaiah Thomas with cheetah spotted hair and a nose ring. Today's game has no storylines other than diva shit between players on twitter, and there's zero physicality in the sense of what we used to have. Anyone who watched NBA Finals during that period and still thinks today's game is exciting is either dumb or lying.
So yeah, the NBA sucks shit to watch.
Many on that list played what is now an extinct position. Small forward. You needed a baseline jumper to make it in the league back at that position then. And a mid range game. And a quick release.
The quick release is almost a lost art today because of the three point bomber mentality. Gervin, Short, English and Aguirre had that lightning quick release. But the quickest was Bernard King.
Before he destroyed his knee in mid-season 1984 King was the best offensive weapon in the game. There was a three or four year period where he was downright unstoppable (partially because small forwards were frequently the weakest defenders on the floor)
Portland famously passed on Jordan because they already had Clyde Drexler (having Ralph Sampson didn't prevent Houston from passing on Hakeem Olajuwon but that's a different story). Bobby Knight, who was coaching Jordan on the 1984 Olympic team, was friends with their GM and was begging them to draft Michael, even if it meant playing him at center. Portland passed. The center they did draft was Sam Bowie who had a history of foot and leg issues in college that miraculously managed to manifest in the NBA as well.
Michael Jordan on the other hand......?