Every NBA fan has seen it. Every former Laker with a media presence has apologized for it. Every sports talk show has started talking about fines and suspensions. Everyone has expressed their thoughts for Andrew Bynum’s cheap shot on J.J. Barea, but why isn’t the man himself remorseful or even audible about the hit?
We’ve all seen superstars get a free pass on travels or carrying during games, but how is Bynum getting the nod to go on the rest of the week without expressing any sorrow or regret whatsoever by the Lakers and NBA?
Cheap shots are seen all around sports, and some go way under the radar, but this attempt to knock Barea to Row 14 is something that can’t be swept under the rug. The Lakers are arguably the most influential professional basketball team and if the fan base or national media they already get doesn’t magnify their actions enough, try putting them in the playoffs, where TV ratings are considerably higher than the regular season.
I still can’t get over how many levels this hit is wrong.
1. The expanded audience, some of which don’t follow the NBA to a slight extent, just got a glimpse of one of the dirtiest plays of the year, leaving the thought that every NBA is a stone-cold thug.
I have a good feeling that David Stern isn’t too thrilled about his league being looked at dirty and classless, because to be honest there are quite a few players that make an impact on their community, but how are fair-weather fans going to know this? And who knows how many fans he lost while doing that under such a bright spot-light? I know he lost me.
2. If the Lakers want to consider themselves reigning champs, they need to lose like champs. The Bynum hit also joined the scum list with Lamar Odom’s shove on Dirk Nowitzki and Ron Artest clothesline shot on, you guessed it, J.J. Barea.
I know the Lakers were embarrassed by getting swept and giving the Mavs what seemed to be an open-gym shooting session, but do it with some pride and show young fans how to lose with dignity.
3. The hit was borderline illegal. Now I know there will be no court date set up for this, but think of it this way. If you’re standing in the street waiting for a weaker person to pile-drive, which is basically what Bynum did, odds are you’re going to be doing some jail time. And speaking of Barea being weaker…
4. Pick on someone your own size for crying out loud. If you want to look like a tough guy, don’t do it by tossing someone around that is nearly a foot shorter than you, and I’m talking to you too, Artest. Unless Barea is spitting some trash talk that is dirtier than a chili-fest Port-O-John, I don’t see how he can be the target of assault.
I’ve been the little guy my whole life, so maybe I’m a tad bias, but seriously, throwing around a man obviously smaller than you doesn’t make you look tough, it makes you look like words I can’t put in print.
After the game Bynum was asked about the hit, but didn’t even mention being sorry or being concerned about Barea’s health, and that’s what really sickens me. Seriously Bynum, you had about 15 minutes to think about what you did and cool down, and you don’t even think of trying to rebuild your freshly destroyed image? Yikes.
And Bynum, aren’t you trying to get signed next year too? I’m not saying that Bynum will be unemployed next year, but the fact that there are some teams that care about their image and don’t want a hoodlum in their locker room will hurt his chances and possibly lower the value of his contract.
Dirty shots happen in all sports unfortunately, but being on a big market team during the playoffs just makes this one even grimier. A somewhat sincere apology would have been nice, but since Bynum wants to act like nothing ever happened, his hit on Barea may take an even bigger hit on his career and fan base.
On a scale of Slim Jim to a 72 oz. Steak, this beef is: Sausage Patties (6/10)