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NBA Basketball in the Late 1980s Was Even More Physical Than You Remember

Kyle Koster

For basketball fans of a certain age, it took watching the NBA evolve into a more offense-friendly, defense-optional game to realize that the sport to first enter our consciousness was quite far afield from the one happening today. If one goes back and watches footage of a classic Detroit Pistons-Boston Celtics or Chicago Bulls-New York Knicks matchup, it is immediately clear that things used to be much more physical. Which makes what Michael Jordan was able to do even more impressive.

As a reminder, this is the exact type of heavy petting the Bad Boys used to do whenever a star player stepped on the court. It's important to remember that while this may look an awful lot like flagrant fouling now, things were just different back then.

Oh yeah, and every single player used to have an Anthony Tolliver-Vinnie Johnson body. Forgot about that.

Younger readers are probably wondering about the uniforms. Again, that was simply the apex of fashion at the time. Men and women alike were sucking it in and cramming their frame into a skin-tight singlet.

Fun trip down memory lane.