It's happened. I was hoping it wouldn't, but deep down I knew it would. Sports reflect society. Since America has become a society of "feelings-on-the-sleeve" wussies, American sports have followed suit.
Given that the NBA isn't a collision sport like the NFL, I was hoping that it would take another decade or so for the NBA to go "weenie" as the NFL has. But alas, it's occurred.
Players can no longer even frown at each other without risking a technical foul. A good clean, "slobber-knocking", going-for-the-ball hard foul in the paint will now likely garner at least a Flagrant 1 and maybe a Flagrant 2...unless the thumper is a Boston Celtic, i.e., Rajon Rondo.
Players now get "T-d up" for so-called taunting. Kobe Bryant got a "T" in Game 2 for "explaining" to Shane Battier than Shane couldn't guard him. Well...Shane, a great defender, CAN'T guard Kobe. No one can.
So, what's wrong with Kobe speaking the truth? MJ, Bird, and Barkley must be rolling over in the graves. No wait...They're not dead, but I'm sure they will roll over when they do die.
I'm a Lakers fan, but I have a real problem with Ron Artest getting ejected from both Games 2 and 3 of the current series. In both cases, he was ejected basically because his name is Ron Artest.
In Game 2, all he did was confront and yap at Kobe. In Game 3, he simply delivered a hard "playoff" foul on Pau Gasol in the paint. That's what he's supposed to do. Then the refs are supposed to hit him with a personal foul, not a Flagrant 2 with its automatic ejection and suspension-potential.
In neither case did it affect the outcomes of the games, but it's the principle and precedence that concerns me. Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn, and Karl Malone must be rolling over in their graves. No wait...They're not dead, either.
Kobe was, after game 2, charged with a Flagrant 1 for his elbow to Artest's chest. FYI...Flagrants carry penalty points. Flagrant 1 = 1 point. Flagrant 2 = 2 points. 4 accumulated points = automatic 1-game suspension.
If the NBA is going to do that then Deputy Commissioner Stu Jackson may as well print out hundreds of "names-to-be-filled-in" Flagrant Foul slips for every power forward and center, most small forwards and a chunk of the guards in the NBA.
"Push-hitting" with elbows while jockeying for rebound positioning is simply a part of the game...well...it used to be.
Back in the good old days when I played city league basketball (with Fred Flintstone), there were certain givens. If you drove the lane, you knew you were going to get thumped...HARD.
If you set picks, you knew that sooner or later you were going to get a shoulder into your solar plexus...or lower if you were a lot taller than the pickee. That was how one dissuaded future picks.
Didn't matter if the pick-setter was 9-feet tall and weighed 400 pounds, you just provided "de-motivation to pick in the future" via his lower regions. Sure, you'd likely get a foul, but never a Flagrant, an ejection, or a subsequent fine or suspension.
AHHHH...The good old days.
I'm old school. My philosophy is that if Kobe, Pau, Battier, Artest et al...all of whom make millions/year can't handle trash-talk, a good clean hard foul, or even an elbow in the chest, then they need to come join the rest of us in the real world.
Then they'd fit right in with the rest of America's wussies! Ironically, none of those players are wussies. The NBA just treats them as if they are.
Memo to the NBA: Let grown men play "grown men" basketball!
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