Chronological arrogance is when you think that what happens in the present is better than what happened in the past; simply because it is more current. In sports, there is always this temptation to do revisionist history. Modern day players tend to be viewed in a more dominant and superior light than older players. Some of it is due to the fact that what happens in the present is fresher on our minds than what happened in the past.
The other fact is that modern day athletes are simply bigger, stronger, and faster than athletes of the past. And there is a lot of truth in those arguments. Today’s athletes have better coaching, equipment, and sports science than yesterday’s athletes ever had.
However, there are exceptions. When the NBA announced the 50 greatest players of all time over a decade ago, it was easy to question whether or not the likes of a Tiny Archibald would even survive in today’s NBA game. But this is ignorance at best and chronological arrogance at worst.
While there isn’t a ton of footage from players of yesteryear, there are some. In this video Bill Russell leaps high for a rebound, dribbles it down the full length of the court like a point guard, takes off from nearly the free throw line, and then proceeds to leap over his defender for a beautiful finger roll. Not to mention the fact that Russell was a lefty.
Think he could’ve dominated the game today like he did yesterday? I think so.