Posts Tagged ‘James Harden’

Go ahead, Ibaka. Step to him. I DARE you.

It was announced Tuesday that Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace would be suspended for 7 games for the elbow he threw that knocked Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden out of Sunday’s game. The incident has been all over the world of sports news since it happened, and has managed to overshadow an otherwise captivating game that saw the Lakers come from 18 down to win in double overtime. World Peace will miss Thursday’s season finale with the Sacramento Kings, and the next 6 games the Lakers play – presuming the Lakers advance past the 1st round of the playoffs, that could mean into the 2nd round.

People have been talking about this non-stop. Before we go further, let’s first take a look at said play:

Pretty bad, right? Yeah – I don’t think anyone can defend that play. I think you’re delusional if you think he didn’t deserve a suspension for that. That’s not even up for debate to me. But you know what is?

The reactions and words of certain talking heads and fans.

I had a number of people overreacting saying “He should be banned for life!” Or “He should be done for the year!” One friend swore he was done for good – I told him there was no chance in hell. First off, the NBAPA wouldn’t allow it. Secondly, NBA history – if you know it (which most fans seemingly don’t) – dictated exactly what type of punishment he should’ve gotten. Most elbows in games get between 1-3 games for an offender; being someone who has had controversial incidents in the past, I predicted 5 games was likely, with a max of 10. But the other stuff?

Please.

Look – I don’t care that so many of you reading this may be caught up in the spin that ESPN and other entities peddle out nightly. I watch ESPN too – and I know when they’re reporting a story, and when they’re FRAMING one. And they’ve done that all too often. Yes, he knocked Harden out, and thankfully, Harden seems to be okay. But stop acting like what happened was more than what it was – a cheap, in-game play that was excessive and deserved punishment. He got punished. I think 7 games is a lot, but given the history – I think commissioner David Stern was fair and didn’t bow to the public and media hyperbole. No one’s going to argue the punishment is too much. But spare me the “he got off light” sentiment.

World Peace’s rep is well-known, and I get it – people view him in a certain light. But since he’s come to the Lakers, he’s actually been thrown out of as many games as Kobe Bryant. In fact – the guys on the team with the most ejections in recent years would be Matt Barnes and Andrew Bynum. The so-called “Malice In The Palace” happened 8 years ago – and he’s been on his best behavior since then. Of course, ESPN couldn’t wait to play clips of it and say that this incident “immediately conjures up thoughts of the Indiana-Detroit brawl”. No it didn’t. But awesome job planting that in your viewers’ heads to further the storyline you hope to create to make this worse than it already was.

And let’s really take a look at that incident. No, seriously – watch that event again:

How many actual punches does (then) Ron Artest throw at anyone? I count 1 definite punch – after he had gone in the stands, a fan ran up on him back on the court, and he swung on him. I said it back then, I’ll say it now – if you’re stupid enough to swing at that man, no matter WHO you are – good luck. This is the same guy that Shaq had trouble backing down. I don’t excuse that incident, but the revisionist history on it is laughable – Artest/World Peace took the fall as a scapegoat when the actions of Ben Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson were actually worse. Wallace started that whole fiasco. No one will ever convince me otherwise. But Artest did fan the flames, and he served his punishment.

My point is – get over it. The man did his best to reform, has pretty much kept himself out of trouble (with a few techs here and there over the years) on the court, and even got professional help. In all the slanted talk, has everyone forgotten that he won the NBA’s J.Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – LAST YEAR?!?

Yup – LAST YEAR.

I’m not buying any of the “do away with him” garbage. I’m not buying into the “thug” crap. There’s racial undertones many times when bringing up him and other NBA “troublemakers” that seems to forget/excuse the history of players like Kevin McHale, Bill Laimbeer and Brad Miller. Not saying this case is a racial thing at all – just saying, there’s often an undertone when certain players are talked about.

And please – don’t come at me like someone did calling that the worst play of the season. Really? How about the wrap-up around clothesline Phoenix’s Robin Lopez gave to Blake Griffin just a week ago??

How about New Orleans’ Jason Smith hitting the “truck” button on Griffin a few weeks ago?

Don’t even GET me started on worse plays last year or in previous years that got lesser reactions and punishments. I find it hilarious watching Charles Barkely, Shaq and Bruce Bowen pursing their lips to say ANYTHING about World Peace.

World Peace got the appropriate punishment – 7 games, no pay. Miss me with the crying about him being some Legion Of Doom-esque super villain who must be stopped at all costs. My thought on all the overreaction? Get a grip. At least the man has legitimately tried to change his life and actions around.

In the heat of a game, he lost it. Hell, some would argue (myself included) that Harden was trying to set World Peace off by running up on him right as he was celebrating (oh, I know – we’re supposed to ignore that Harden doesn’t guard World Peace, and that World Peace didn’t have the ball- he was running to get back on defense – so there was no legitimate reason for him to run right up on him like that). Well, you (Harden) set him off. This is supposition, but Harden (if you watch as him regularly) likes to try to get under the skin of opponents. He wanted to, in my opinion, get under World Peaces’ skin by running up on him and make him do something stupid. Guess what? He did something stupid. Except Harden got hurt.

Doesn’t excuse it. Doesn’t remotely make it alright.

I’m just saying let’s keep this entire thing in perspective. The NBA, in my opinion, handled this correctly.

It’s been 8 years. Give World Peace a chance.