Gilbert Arenas Takes Major Shot Bill Lambier’s 1980s


Gilbert Arenas, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

With many former and current NBA players comparing the talent and intensity of their respective era to others, former 11-year NBA veteran Gilbert Arenas took it a step further.

Arenas, who played from 2001-2012, spoke out on his podcast “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas, stating that the hard fouls and penalties committed in 1980s were glorified and mistaken for toughness and aggressiveness. This was in response to older players who played in that era claiming that NBA players today would not last in the 1980-1990s as it was too tough for them.

The four-time NBA all-star also noted in the interview that the players who conducted these hard fouls would not have the size or the athleticism to compete with NBA players today — even categorizing former 2x NBA champion and four-time All-Star for the Detroit Pistons Bill Laimbeer (1981-1994) as a member of the list.

“Bill Laimbeer cannot play basketball today. His defense does not work today,” Arenas said.

It is hard to make this claim when you have not stepped on the floor during another time period — especially with the play style and pace being completely different from era to era. If Arenas realistically was in that era, he would have to adjust to that level of play regardless of the talent that he states were far superior.

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However, Arenas does make a point as looking from the eye test, NBA players nowadays are more evolved in terms of size, athleticism, speed, and agility than the players in the 1980-1990 range.

Despite Laimbeer not meeting the eye test, there is still reason to consider how would fare in today’s game. Averaging just short of 10 rebounds throughout his 15-year career, he wasn’t only seen as a violent player, but a dominant rebounder and defender that brought leadership to one of the most feared teams in the history of basketball.

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Nicknamed the “prince of darkness” and “an ax murderer” there is no telling how he would fair against players like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, but one thing is for certain: Laimbeer would make his presense known.

Did Arenas go over the top with his comments? Maybe. It is all speculation at the end of the day and the NBA will consistently evolve in talent.