When Dwyane Wade made his NBA debut fifteen years ago, the League featured “more of a thinking man’s game,” according to the future Hall of Famer.

Wade says today’s stars can get by largely on talent and athleticism.

Via NBA.com:

It’s crazy that kids of his generation are able to track their progress the way they can in this digital and social media age. You see how much better some of these young kids get from year to year, month to month even, and it’s mind-boggling. That’s a luxury or a curse, depending on your perspective, you didn’t have 20 years ago.

DW: “Look, I knew who was in my district. And I barely knew that. But yeah, they get a global view of the game and what’s going on all around them at all times. They get to compare themselves against this guy in Los Angeles when you live on the other side of the country. Or a guy from Canada or wherever. And they get to play against each other now with the grassroots circuit. It’s so much different now compared to when we were growing up. So yeah, it’s just a different time. And man, the talent these kids have way exceeds our talents at that same stage. Just their skills. I mean, everybody’s got a personal trainer and all of the moves. I didn’t have all that. I learned in the backyard with my dad teaching me. I didn’t learn with professional trainers and all that. But it’s the culture now. That’s where we’re at. It’s a different day. And that’s what you see in the NBA right now.”

In what way?

DW: “We’re at a place right now in the league where if you have talent, you can succeed. And I’m not knocking it. It’s just what it is. When I came in it was different. It was more of a thinking man’s game. It was different rules to the game, you know, with hand-checking and everything. It was more of a man’s league, per say. But now, if you have talent in this league, you’ve got one-on-one abilities, you can succeed. If you’ve got one talent, just one thing you do special, you can be great. If that talent is just setting the pick and roll and then jumping as high as I can for a lob, you can do it and you can make $200 million doing it. It’s just a different day. And there’s nothing wrong with it. The game changes for every generation. So I hope my son can get a little of this NBA action, because I think it’s going to be a really fun era to play in and be a part of.

“Sooner or later something will click, some team, some coach or some transcendent player will come along and they’re going to change the game. … So you really just never know where the game is going next. But rest assured wherever it goes, it’s going to a fun ride for everybody.”

DWade isn’t wrong, but maybe this is more of a reflection on our society. Thinking is definitely important in sports, but the great players always are the smartest guys on the floor. 

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