“NBA was too black, too thuggish…” Charles Barkley claims Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are most influential NBA players ever

Charles Barkley reminds the NBA world of how important Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird were to the league.


“NBA was too black, too thuggish…” Charles Barkley claims Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are most influential NBA players ever

Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan

Back in the 1980s, the league was still confined to the United States, with the majority of the players being black. Though Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan made their impact on the league, the game of basketball seemed to have changed in a lot of ways. 

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More international players were coming into the association, more younger athletes were mimicking these players to one day play on the big stage, and many others felt the game’s impact. 

At the time, as the league wasn’t well known around the world, the average salaries were pretty low. To put it into perspective, back then the average salary of an NBA player was 2% of today’s salary. Hall of Famer Charles Barkley recently put great emphasis on how Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan were the most important figures in the history of the league. 

Michael Jordan, Larey Bird, Magic Johnson, the three most important players in NBA history. People forget, the NBA was too black, too thuggish, too men and drugs... You know the average salary when they started was around $200,000. Now the average salary is like $10 million. I always tell Magic and Larry every time I say, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you'. Those are the two most important figures in NBA history.
Said Barkley on the Pat McAfee Show.

Michael Jordan was the first player to start many things. Players these days have their own trainers; however, back then it wasn’t normal to have a separate trainer for each player. Jordan was the first-ever player to hire a trainer who looked after his performance. Not only that, MJ was also the first player to do commercials. 

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Michael Jordan changed the culture of the league

Some players have changed the way the game is played, though MJ was one of the players who changed the culture around the league. With endorsement deals, commercials, and celebrity status, Jordan brought a lot of audience to the league. His fame was worldwide, as the league then garnered more international presence. 

The six-time champion never failed to perform at his best level. MJ was an icon among all the NBA players. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did change people’s perceptions of the league, and as they retired, they passed down the torch to Michael Jordan. 

After decades of his retirement, his followers would still buy his shoes, no matter the amount. The Jordan brand generates billions of dollars of revenue every year.

Not only that, but it has also helped players around the world showcase their talents through camps. MJ’s popularity and respect among the basketball community seem to be evergreen.

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