Ever year, the NBA goes to greater and greater lengths to assure its sport isn’t tarnished by unnecessary violence. It’s why what would’ve been a routine foul 20 years ago nowadays can get you suspended for a week.
Marcin Gortat wants to go in the exact opposite direction.
I would say 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? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA…. During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw 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 [chuckles].
So, we know one of Gortat’s nicknames is the Polish Hammer. We just kind of assumed he got it because he was, you know, Polish. And very large.
Apparently, we were wrong. He really wants to throw the hammer down on people.
Real talk: There’s a better chance of Commissioner Adam Silver winning Bodybuilder of the Year than the NBA ever allowing so much as a sanctioned staring contest.
Still, Gortat isn’t alone in his belief that the Association has gotten too soft. Writing at TrueHoop back in 2012, Henry Abbott and Beckley Mason took a look at how the league’s referees might be harming the overall product:
Free-throws and foul trouble punish players and teams, to some degree. But they punish fans most of all, making the game more boring every way imaginable. 1) Free throws are the least entertaining part of the game. 2) People tune in to see superstars, which they don't get when the rules remove them from the field. 3) Fouls, called and not, prevent a lot of the game's most exciting plays, especially dunks, fast breaks and challenges at the rim.
We’re guessing there’s a happy median to be had—somewhere between “whistling a guy for looking at an opponent too long” and “punching Matt Barnes in the face.”
Back in November, Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes took a fascinating look at the history of fights in the NBA and how the league has learned to curb such behavior. His conclusion: Whatever you say about the motives and methods, the league has accomplished its goal.
Players today are much less likely to haul off and slug an opponent. They've seen too many instances of weighty fines, lost game checks and tarnished images to risk a fight. In addition, they've been trained to stay seated on the bench when their teammates are in trouble.
The NBA's plan to curb violence has worked.
Maybe once Gortat retires and becomes president of Poland, he can sign a decree allowing no holds barred in the Polish Basketball League.