James Worthy watches a lot of basketball. The former Los Angeles Lakers star is a television analyst for SportsNet in L.A., and does the pregame and postgame show for the Lakers. In the last year year, that has proven to be a pretty soul-crushing gig, but generally, Worthy is one of the more entertaining personalities that we have in the game.
Earlier this week, Worthy made a cameo on the Michigan-based radio show the Stoney & Jansen Show where he expressed some frustrations about the current state of the league. Worthy in particular cited frustrations with players who either spend one year in college or eschew it altogether before going pro, saying that it costs them the chance to learn some important lessons on and off the court.
“I mean, Kareem had four years with John Wooden, Michael Jordan and I had three years with Dean Smith, Isiah (Thomas) had some years with Bobby Knight. So you learned the fundamentals,” Worthy said. “Not only that, you learned how to live. You learned how to balance your freaking checkbook in college, there’s a lot of things. When you don’t get that, guys are coming to the NBA who are not fundamentally sound. All they do is practice threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media. That’s it.
“So you don’t have that sound player; you have an athletic player. And that’s what’s happening to the game. It’s a lot of ISO and looking for mismatches. Bill Russell told me one time, they had five options off of one play. You don’t see that anymore.”
Kevin Durant responded to this with a bit of a joke despite saying that Worthy isn’t necessarily wrong.