Xavier McDaniel (above choking Wes Matthews in 1988) was among the last of the enforcers in the NBA, a 6-foot-7 forward with skill who played “violently,” as he put it. Well, “The X-Man” has not mellowed after 14 years of retirement. He considers today’s league one that protects players, whereas his league was one that allowed players to go after each other. The NBA has made it so that the “rules make the players adjust,” McDaniel said, “instead of adjusting the rules for the players. Now, you accidentally hit a guy and you get fined. It’s crazy.”
He told Atlanta Blackstar there are many players in today’s game who could handle the physical nature of the 1980s and ’90s, but singled out these.