James Worthy rips current NBA players: 'All they do is practice threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media' - Lakers Daily

James Worthy rips current NBA players: ‘All they do is practice threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media’

James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Although the NBA has been in a very good place in recent years for a number of reasons, there are many critics who lament that the game and its players are a pale imitation of what it was decades ago.

One of those critics seems to be James Worthy, the Hall of Fame forward who was a key star for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams in the 1980s.

On Wednesday, he was on the “Stoney & Jansen Show” on 97.1 The Ticket, a Detroit radio station, and he went off on current NBA players for not staying in college.

“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.”

Worthy was drafted by the Lakers with the top pick in the 1982 NBA Draft after three seasons at the University of North Carolina. He had just been named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament after leading the Tar Heels to the national championship.

He joined a Lakers team that had just won the NBA championship, but with starting small forward Jamaal Wilkes aging and injury-prone, Worthy started to blossom after his rookie season.

He was a big part of L.A.’s 1985 and 1987 championship victories over the Boston Celtics, and when it repeated as world champs in 1988, Worthy was named the Finals MVP.

Until the 1990s, most NBA players spent three or four years playing college ball before turning pro. Many feel that spending more time in college not only results in a more well-rounded player but also a more well-rounded and mature human being, as Worthy alluded to.

On the other side of the argument, some may accuse Worthy of having that stereotypical “get off my lawn” attitude towards the modern-day player.