So often you hear from old timers (and I'm an old timer myself) that today's NBA is soft compared to the old days. How, "In my day, if you try and drive the lane you'll get knocked on your *****!!" When kids today talk about the awesome skills of a Kobe or a Durant, invariably, an old timer will chime in and say something like, "Heh - I'd like to see him try that in the 70s!!! He'd be pickin' his teeth up off the floor!"
I've always parroted that myself, just kinda going along with the flow, assuming it was true.
However, after watching many old games on NBA TV's Hardwood Classics, I've learned, that's simply not the case. It was not a particularly tough brand of ball back then, it just wasn't. Sure, there's *some* exceptions, ('89 Pistons come to mind), but by and large, the lane was wide open and plenty of players drove the lane at will. You can Youtube any 70s or 80s NBA game and watch, it's pretty benign for the most part.
I'd go so far as to say that today's game is *more* physical than it was back then. I was at the Lakers-Kings game earlier this year, and Cousins and Howard were absolutely beating the snot out of each other down low. It's a very physical game now days, contrary to the revisionist wishes of the old timers.