Quote Originally Posted by KnicksorBust View Post
As someone who was born in 83, I grew up in the 90s and loved watching the Knicks. It was a very exciting time to be a basketball fan. I feel very confident talking about players from that era up until the present. However, if you ask me to wax poetic about Oscar Robertson I'm at a loss. But because of numbers I knew he was a legend. Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50ppg? How could do it?
I've done a lot of reading and watching old clips of the Russell/Wilt/West generation of players because the numbers got me curious and I wanted to see what those players were like before my time. Mikan, however, he can still go **** himself, I'm not watching that basketball. But the era before me I tried my best. In your world, every 20 years a generation of basketball would be lost because kids can't look up numbers and form opinions. At least if they are wrong, it starts a conversation. What a bummer.

That's the beauty of sports. Everyone gets to step up to the table and debate. Imagine this scenario:

Kid: "Rings and points per game!! KOBE is the GOAT!"
Old man (just finished telling the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn): "You don't know what you're talking about. You never saw Elgin Baylor. He was the greatest player ever."

There are no 7 year old kids on this forum doing the things that you complain about. Valade/Chronz/others all want to get the full picture. Numbers are part of that picture. Arguing purely objective opinion is pointless and circular. Stats help tell a story and pretty convincingly. That's why that kid on the street with the spreadsheet of stats, if he knows how to read it, is still going to be right an awful lot. That's a good thing. There are exceptions of players whose stats over/under rate them but for the most part if you want to see a lot of the greatest players of all-time looking at the right advanced statistics is a great way to start.
Numbers provide a very crude assessment. Sure, we can look at numbers and get a basic reading of the class of player someone was (e.g., a HOF caliber player, an all-star caliber player, etc.), but that's about as far as it goes. They should not be used, at least in their current form (imo), to assess which players were better, at least among players who are in or around the same caliber.