With nicknames like “Polish Hammer” and “Polish Machine,” Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat would fit right in with the WWE. His nicknames aren’t the only similarities, though, because the big man wants the NBA to “loosen” rules on fighting and closer emulate the NHL.
In an interview with ESPN's Kyle Weidie, Gortat shared his interesting stance on fighting in the Association when asked about any rule changes he’d like to see moving forward.
I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying?
Weidie asked Gortat to clarify if this should happen during games, and the 30-year-old had his answer ready to go:
During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw a few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game … these two guys, they resolved their problem. They’re both suspended and they’re leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea.
Weidie’s counterpoint was that the NBA would need bigger referees, because 74-year-old officiating veteran Dick Bavetta shouldn’t be called upon to break up fights between towering NBAers.
The NBA community already caught a glimpse of what might happen when former New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy tried to stifle Alonzo Mourning.
At some point when the referees jump in, then you’d have to stop. You’d have to stop. So I think that would be a great idea, just like the ice hockey fans waiting for that, that’s what NBA fans would get into as well.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
Gortat, meanwhile, abides by the philosophy that guys should fight for “15-20 seconds” to resolve their problem and get it out of their system.
Considering that officials are quite liberal issuing technical fouls—like Joey Crawford ejecting Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench—it’s nearly impossible to imagine what the NBA landscape would look like if fights were allowed.
On top of that, fights in hockey aren't even unanimously supported.
As Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk writes, "Fighting is a problem hockey should address, not encourage. Players get seriously hurt over something that has nothing to do with the sport, and that’s a shame."
Just think if NBA rosters started to employ the equivalent of hockey enforcers. Would they be sent in to fight the opposing team's best player with the intention of getting him ejected to improve the odds of winning? What would stop that from happening in every game?
Give Gortat credit for thinking outside of the box, but it’s hard to take this idea seriously.