Nenad Krstic: Oklahoma City Thunder C Throws Chair, Merits Suspension?

Dmitriy IoselevichSenior Analyst IIIAugust 23, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 18:  Nenad Krstic #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 18, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Serbian star Nenad Krstic awaits a decision from FIBA on what his punishment will be for throwing a chair that hit Greek player Yannis Bouroussis during a bench-clearing brawl last Thursday.

Serbia and Greece were playing in an exhibition game when a fight broke out. Krstic was backed into a corner by Greek players and fans, and reacted by throwing a chair into the crowd, allegedly in self-defense.

In the video of the fight, Krstic was definitely in a precarious position. But did that make it necessary to throw a chair?

The man is 7'0" tall and 260 pounds. How someone that big needs to resort to throwing a metal chair to protect himself is a head scratcher.

It seemed like Krstic got upset and let his emotions get the best of him. These international basketball games can sometimes get testy, especially with two teams like Serbia and Greece that are both very passionate about the sport. But Krstic should have known better.

FIBA would be justified in suspending Krstic for the World Championships. He could have seriously hurt someone, and showed unbelievably poor judgment.

If this was the NBA, there would be a chance that Krstic receives a lifetime ban. At least when Ron Artest went crazy in 2004 against Indiana, he didn't use a weapon.

The only reason Krstic won't be banned is because he is a national hero in Serbia, and one of the sport's most popular international figures. He was even named Serbia's third-most-eligible bachelor by a national magazine.

FIBA, however, has to set a precedent here. It's one thing to have a physical game, and by all accounts international basketball is much more physical than the NBA. But to allow players to engage in fights with opposing players and fans without punishment is both irresponsible and dangerous.

Krstic is a talented player who's had a solid NBA career and is a starter for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It'll be unfortunate if he has to watch his national team struggle through the group stage without him. But that's the price he has to pay.

Maybe he'll know better next time.