Was the peak of the NBA aka popularity of basketball in 90's ( or including 80's ) “as I consider” or just my “Old days were good”?

I always wonder and argue with young boys in my country if today's so called superstar Lebron James remained nothing but a role player had he played in 90's or the 80's because back then there was even a time there was no flagrant foul and there was even an illegal defense and in my opinion, there is no need to mention that Micael Jordan was the Greatest Of All Time. The boys here argue Michael was nobody but an old guy, today's players are muscular than the players in 80's and 90's and well scientifically trained, so on and so forth. What is the general reaction in today's U.S about this?

What I would like to hear is the general air towards the sport, basketball ( if possible toward the NBA too ), compared with the general air in 80's and 90's. Did it decline in the homeland, which is the U.S?

Data the NBA's TV final audience ratings.

Since user @JonCuster started talking about the American football, here is the Super Bowl television ratings. ( I know that the most popular sports in the U.S is the American football. )

Per his claim, the number of TV audience on Super Bowl is rising, contrary to that of the NBA.

If someone shows me the data, and if it's reasonable, I would like to "surrender", otherwise I will hold mine. ( Who wouldn't watch the NBA Finals, which decides the championship of the year, if they are the NBA fans. )

P.S 1 I didn't know if there was a sports SE in SE so please migrate should moderators consider if this question belongs there. Sorry.

P.S2 Considering the simultaneous downvote right after asking at Sports SE, I can't expect any reasonable answer from there, I think. So let me ask here kindly. Thanks.

Thank you in advance.