Kobe Bryant is right.
I couldn't put it any better than that. He's just right, Dahntay Jones' foul that wasn't was dirty.
In the waning moments of the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Black Mamba went up for what would have been a game-tying shot. He then came crashing down to the floor with what Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reported was a severely sprained ankle that would keep him "out indefinitely."
Kobe Bryant has severely sprained left ankle. His x-rays were negative & he's out indefinitely— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 14, 2013
Naturally, Bryant was angry, furious even, later telling Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that Jones' tactics don't belong in the game:
In an email to Yahoo! Sports late Wednesday night, Bryant said that Jones "threw his hip and lower body into mine on the shot. That's a foul with 100 percent certainty. Dirty and dangerous play. Doesn't belong in the game."
Kobe also took to his Twitter account to vent his frustrations, definitively concluding that Jones fouled him and it should have been called.
#dangerousplay that should have been called. Period.— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 14, 2013
Tape doesn't lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man— Dahntay (@dahntay1) March 14, 2013
Leg kick that makes contact with a defensive player is an offense foul. Period. The nba changed that rule 2 yrs ago. Stop it!— Dahntay (@dahntay1) March 14, 2013
Is he kidding?
Much of what Jones wrote was true. I'm sure he respects Bryant, and the rules have changed. He was also correct to note that the tape doesn't lie. And it doesn't.
Looking at the "tape," Kobe does indeed roll his ankle when he hits the floor, but he only hits the floor because he lost his balance. Jones meandered his way under Bryant ever so slightly, and he landed awkwardly.
Before you berate me with baleful amounts of aspersion, understand that I'm not saying Jones' intention was to sideline Kobe per se. Let's not pretend that his was a happy accident, though.
Jones' initial attempt to contest the shot was clean. Why? Because he didn't really contest it. He barely lifted his feet. In fact, he only lifted one foot.
My problem is with him seemingly feigning momentum. He continues to make his way into Bryant's shot long after he releases ball. And why? Was it his momentum? From not really moving?
Was Dahntay Jones' defense of Kobe Bryant's final shot dirty?
Jones had no business continuing to traipse his way toward Kobe. He should have turned his head (which he did) and pursued the rebound (which he didn't).
As far as Bryant's supposed leg kick goes, it didn't even graze Jones. Dahntay closed out from the side of Kobe, and the Mamba's (slightly) extended leg did nothing. Absolutely nothing.
This play was dangerous, laced with dirty.