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This Is So Stupid

How Many Buckets Could Ben Chiarot Give Aristotle? (I Promise This Makes Sense)

Hockey guy Ben Chiarot of whichever team is Florida's
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This is the dead part of the year, sportswise. NBA and NHL champions have been crowned, football (both kinds) is weeks and months away, baseball’s in its languid quotidian middle. I guess there’s golf, maybe? Tennis? Are they doing tennis right now? I think they are doing tennis.

In any event, since this is not the season of talking about actual present-tense things happening in the major sports, talk of those sports in Defector’s internal chat earlier today turned historical. That is to say that we reanimated, for probably the 2,000th time, our long-running debate over exactly how pathetic and feeble and helpless the great pro athletes of the past would be against even the most mediocre of doofuses doing it today.

Well, OK, it didn’t quite start there. It started with David Roth innocently sharing this video of PSG star Kylian Mbappé calmly scoring a series of field goals on the uprights at the Los Angeles Rams’ stadium.

This sparked a uh lively discussion of the relative abilities of present-day and old-timey athletes, and also ancient philosophers somehow. In the interest of transforming this enormous time-drain into work product, you will find that discussion transcribed below, with only minor edits to remove assorted “lol”s and feeble attempts at raising actual work-related subjects.

Kelsey McKinney [10:35 AM]
it’s pretty incredible that basically any pro athlete now could have dominated at any professional sport 50 years ago lol

Barry Petchesky [10:36 AM]
mbappe would have dunked bill russell to hell

Albert [10:41 AM]
i think maybe the only exception to that is heavyweight boxing, just because it no longer has its pick of any of the top bazillion huge athletes in the world; all of today’s heavyweights are just shitbags who couldn’t play left tackle

Lauren [10:41 AM]
eh only the Americans imo!

Oleksander Usek would beat the 1972 Dolphins with one hand tied behind his back

Albert [10:42 AM]
i mean Tyson Fury has held multiple belts and he is a garbage fighter

billy [10:58 AM]
at risk of undermining the bill russell bit (which is one of the best slack bits imo) i don’t think the “athletes of today would uniformly crush those from olden thymes” thing is really right. mostly because it is founded on like time machine logic, where you could take an athlete of today and transport them into the past or take an athlete of the past and transport them into the future and have them play a game that very day. if an athlete of today had been born back in the day, they would have all the same constraints and stuff as the old ones did, and if one of the old ones was born today they’d have all the benefits as the current ones. and because the athletes in major sports then and now were all the best athletes of their time (though with some exceptions like albert’s with boxing) i don’t think it’s just like automatically true that somehow today’s athletes are, from some imagined atemporal perspective, better than the old ones

Big Cool Tom [11:00 AM]
all good points but have you considered this: Kylian Mbappe would have struck out Babe Ruth on three pitches and caused him to retire

billy [11:00 AM]
now that is definitely true

Patrick [11:02 AM]
i guess when i’m saying “send monte morris back to the 1970s and he becomes the greatest player of all time” i’m assuming he also gets the benefit of all the advances in sports medicine etc since then, like the inventions of vegetables and sleep

Albert [11:02 AM]
billy i do think it’s intended to be considered on time-machine terms. like i don’t see the value in trying to imagine what bill russell would be like if he were born today, because he wasn’t. but i can imagine 28-year-old bill russell playing against 28-year-old hakeem olajuwon and being destroyed 20,000 to zero because that’s what would happen and then he would drop dead from shame

billy [11:03 AM]
but both directions are just as imaginary

Albert [11:03 AM]
sure but it’s easier to imagine bill russell as he existed than some hypothetical version of bill russell born in 2002

that’s the point of the comparison imo

billy [11:04 AM]
yeah but that’s why i don’t think it’s a good comparison

Barry Petchesky [11:04 AM]
what if all the processed food of today is what makes people bigger and stronger and smarter

Luis [11:04 AM]
Bill Russell born in 2002 would have had to become a stretch 4

Albert [11:04 AM]
it’s a way of comparing the sport as it was played in the 1960s to level it’s played at today

Patrick [11:04 AM]
definitely imaginary, though the take is not that human genetics have advanced in 60 years it’s all the other stuff

Kelsey McKinney [11:04 AM]
i apologize for starting this. i revoke my earlier comment

Albert [11:04 AM]
right patrick

it’s not a comparison of genetics but of how far the sport has come

Barry Petchesky [11:05 AM]
kelsey it would have started on its own within 48 hours anyway

it always does

Maitreyi [11:05 AM]
i think billy’s right, my one quibble is that i think it’s probably less likely that some athletic genious is languishing undiscovered somewhere than it was 50 years ago so there’s more competition now

Kelsey McKinney [11:05 AM]
i also think some of it is genetics though lol. a lot of athletes now are like “oh yeah both my parents were NCAA division 1 athletes and also my grandma was an olympian”

athletic nepotism is genetics!

billy [11:06 AM]
what i’m saying though is that “how far things have come” is historically contingent in a way that i think the comparison glosses over

it’s kinda like arguing that i’m smarter than aristotle because if i got into a time machine back to ancient greece and brought my wikipedia-having iphone i could whip his ass in an argument

Patrick [11:07 AM]
exactly

Luis [11:07 AM]
yeah I don’t see the problem there

I bet he didn’t even know about Sweetbitter

billy [11:07 AM]
i don’t think it’s a problem to be clear, just having a convo!

no need to retract kelsey!

Albert [11:07]
aristotle would poop out his brain and die if a modern person simply tried to explain germ theory to him

Barry Petchesky [11:08 AM]
i agree with billy, aristotle was a chump

Albert [11:08]
because he was a dang caveman idiot loser

Luis [11:08 AM]
Albert, that would happen if someone tried to explain, like, how pens work to him

Albert: [11:08 AM]
yeah!

show him one of those old rotary pencil sharpeners and watch him cry and call it God

Kelsey McKinney [11:09 AM]
i do actually think there is a genetic difference in athletes now than 50 years ago though. this is my toxic opinion but there are people who are literally looking for other D1 athletes to marry and have kids with lol

David Roth [11:09 AM]
Trying his rhetorical moves on you like Bob Cousy doing a constipated crab dribble with his right hand

Get out of here with that weak shit Aristotle

Barry Petchesky [11:09 AM]
i would simply show aristotle a fidget spinner and his skull would explode and rain shards over half of attica

Ray Ratto [11:11 AM]
I still maintain Wilt Chamberlain would have killed, gutted, battered, breaded, fried and eaten any player today. That is, after dunking them repeatedly.

Luis [11:12 AM]
Wilt would give up 200 to Boban

Ray Ratto [11:12 AM]
Not dunking on them, Dunking them.;

Barry Petchesky [11:12 AM]
Aristotle: “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day.”
Me: “Man that’s weak. Get that weak shit out of here.”

Barry Petchesky [11:13 AM]
that said i think aristotle could take kyrie

billy [11:13 AM]
wilt would be out of the league after 2 years if he was in today’s game, not because he lacked skill but because he’d be a full-time instagram model dm-slider

David Roth [11:14 AM]
A series of DNP-Hormy absences and finally Coach Popovich can’t take it anymore

Kelsey McKinney [11:15 AM]
imaginging myself trying to explain to Aristotle what a Football Move is in the NFL while he cries acid because of the video replay

Albert [11:15 AM]
Jusuf Nurkic wearing Wilt Chamberlain like a mink stole as he scores 5 zillion points

Luis [11:15 AM]
How far back could you go in NBA history and still find a useful rotation player for 2022?

Albert [11:15 AM]
2012

(i’m kidding)

Barry Petchesky [11:16 AM]
Late 70s?

Luis [11:16 AM]
I’d say the early 80s?

yeah that sounds about right

Albert [11:16 AM]
not before the league added the 3pt line

Luis [11:16 AM]
which was what, 78?

79-80 apparently

Barry Petchesky [11:17 AM]
Yeah there was absolutely zero reason for anyone to ever learn how to defend before the 3 line

Patrick [11:17 AM]
are we allowed to slot in like wilt as a role player here

Luis [11:17 AM]
yes

Patrick [11:17 AM]
because he could definitely play

Luis [11:17 AM]
I guess yeah the question is probably different for bigs and guards

Barry Petchesky [11:17 AM]
I mean dudes like Wilt were def physically capable of giving you a couple fouls off the bench today

Ray Ratto [11:17 AM]
YOU FOOLS!

Patrick [11:17 AM]
elgin baylor

Luis [11:18 AM]
George Gervin would be a good add-on in an Ish Smith trade

giri [11:18 AM]
wilt would’ve had way more time to play basketball today

logistics are easier

he’d have an elite instagram-uber-seamless setup

Barry Petchesky [11:18 AM]
i’m lolling imagining how mad we’re all gonna get when some Gen. Gamma blogger tells us LeBron could never hang with 2040s NBA players

Ray Ratto [11:19 AM]
My respect for your collective basketball acumen plummets by the word. And Barry just nailed it.

Albert [11:19 AM]
yeah but they’ll be right

billy [11:19 AM]
this is what i believe, and by god i of course mean D10S himself, lionel messi

Luis [11:19 AM]
LeBron will still be playing in the 2040s, Barry

Barry Petchesky [11:19 AM]
“Lebron could never have closed out guys posting up at the 5-point line”

Albert [11:19 AM]
LeBron didn’t have the muscle-mutating benefits of the gamma radiation that will bombard every living thing at all times in 2040

Maitreyi [11:20 AM]
balldontstop’s take on this is that you should imagine if older players had actual nba spacing

David Roth [11:20 AM]
William Faulkner could never have made it in today’s fast-paced blogging environment.

giri [11:20 AM]
also how have we not mentioned that the world population nearly doubled since 1970

Ray Ratto [11:20 AM]
LeBron is going to be making 3-D versions of Full House, with him as Bob Saget.

giri [11:20 AM]
there’s better frickin athletes now

Albert [11:20 AM]
and lots more of them too

Ray Ratto [11:20 AM]
But Giri, the world population is going to be reduced by 100 percent in 20 years.

giri [11:21 AM]
inshallah

Albert [11:21 AM]
our Boston Dynamics robot descendants will have no problem giving old-ass LeBron 200 points and then burning his eyeballs out with lasers

Barry Petchesky [11:21 AM]
the Malthusian scouting report doesn’t bode well for future NBA

Ray Ratto [11:22 AM]
But Gordie Howe could still play in the NHL today, and that’;s even allowing for him being dead.

Barry Petchesky [11:22 AM]
zzzzz

Ray Ratto [11:22 AM]
Narcolepsy does not become you, Barrold.

Barry Petchesky [11:22 AM]
ben chiarot would lock gordie’s ass down

Ray Ratto [11:23 AM]
Gordie Howe would have picked his teeth with both of Ben Chiarot’s femurs.

Barry Petchesky [11:23 AM]
jack johnson would have forced gordie into the new gordie howe hat trick: crying, peeing himself, retiring

Ray Ratto [11:24 AM]
But that’s what Jack Johnson does. Plus, Gordie’s parents never stole his money.

Albert [11:24 AM]
i don’t know who ben chiarot is but i know he’s a thousand times better than the weekending pipe-welders and gas station attendants gordie howe played against

Ray Ratto [11:24 AM]
Albdert, I will hire an adult sized person half my age to strike you repeatedly.

And yes, I know your name is not Albdert.

Samer [11:25 AM]
albdert

Barry Petchesky [11:25 AM]
albdert is good

Luis [11:25 AM]
Albdert Steiner, my favorite character from Final Fantasy 9

Maitreyi [11:28 AM]
ben chariot would immediately take a penalty and they wouldnt even be on the ice together

Ray Ratto [11:31 AM]
Ben Chiarot would have dropped the gloves on Howe, who would have beaten him senseless and then turned him over to Ted Lindsay to carry him to the ambulance.

Besides, Ben Chiarot would never have seen the NHL. He’d still be eating coal for a living in Etobicoke..

I am slandering Ben Chiarot for no good reason here because I have been banned from blogging for the remainder of the week, and am bored.

Barry Petchesky [11:33 AM]
there’s never not a good reason to slander ben chiarot

Wags [11:36 AM]
albdert