"If a guy was doing the Riverdance like that, coach would come over and say, 'Who's got the fewest amount of fouls of my big fellas?' " said ex-Celtic and TNT analyst Kevin McHale. "If you raised your hand, he would say, 'We will let him drive and then we will throw him on the ground.'
"When he is laying there we would say, 'Do you feel like dancing now?'
"And that pretty much solved the dancing problem."
Let's imagine that what McHale said would happen back in his day took place today. To begin with, both teams would pretend to actually want to fight, but since since fights never happen in the NBA nobody would actually do anything. The reason why a fight has almost no chance of happening is because of the heavy suspensions that is now imposed on any sort of slightly physical play.
Any time there's any kind of physical play, there is an immediate reaction that a flagrant foul needs to be called and then announcers usually will say something like "there's no place for that in the game". Well if there's no place for that in the game then you can't really complain about guys showboating and you should expect Lebron to continue his "Riverdance" (Kevin McHale you were a horrible GM, but that was slightly redeeming).
It's gotten to the point where a guy like Kendrick Perkins is considered a tough guy. Bitch please. Oakley would slap Perkins silly and not one player on the Celtics would be man enough to step to him (I'm looking at you wannabe thug Paul Pierce, throwing up the B against the Hawks). If you think I'm joking go watch some clips of the early 90's Knicks. Yeah, we never won a championship, but if you had to choose one team in the history of the NBA in a fight, you would choose that team because we had Oakley and Mason. Do you really need anybody else?
When players could settle things on the court like that, you didn't have these problems. That's why you never saw Jordan, Bird, Magic, Dr. J or any other great player dancing around on the court. Back then if you were talking trash and trying to show a player up, you better believe your ass was going down hard whenever the opportunity presented itself.
The league was obviously tougher when you allowed the players to police it themselves. Ever since the Malice in the Palace the league has become excessive in its punishments of players involved in fights or any physical play that could lead to confrontation. Remember the last "fight' in the NBA between the Knicks and Nuggets?
There were maybe 3 punches thrown, followed by Carmelo's bitch slap and run (seriously just look). The suspensions in comparison to the fight were insane. Melo got 15 games for his slap and both Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith were hit with 10 game suspensions for their wrestling match. Then after the fight we had to hear about how this was such a disgusting act that tarnished the game and that "there's no excuse for behavior like this".
If the blame should go anywhere for Lebron's dancing and the less physical brand of basketball we watch today, look at David Stern and the league office.