Monday, January 22, 2007

NBA is Turning Into the NHL

What Ben Wallace and Ron Artest started last year in the "Palace Brawl" has forever changed that face of the National Basketball Association. That is exactly what NBA commissioner David Stern did not want, but you don't always get what you want. Now David Stern must find a way to deal with it. Last year Stern implemented a new dress code for players arriving to the arenas on game day and sitting on the bench to try and increase the professionalism of the players. This year Stern amended the actual uniform attire, outlawing tights and the wearing elbow and knee pads on anything but the elbows and knees. Yeah, some people actually had a problem with that. Kobe at one time wore knee pads down around his ankles. Was it a fashion statement, or did curious little Kobe get into the equipment closet and start playing dress-up? I guess we'll never know, but at least we won't have to witness such stupidity again. Stern also implemented a "Zero-tolerance Policy" in regards to players reacting to referees. Stern's zero-tolerance policy was effective the first few weeks. There were technical fouls being thrown out faster than steroid suspensions in MLB. However; none of these new stipulations and guidelines have succeeded in increasing the sportsmanship of players. This year there have been three more brawls in the NBA. The first of the year was in New York, dubbed by me as the "Midget Melee in Madison Square Garden." Just like Ben Wallace was the initial perpetrator in the Palace Brawl, Nate Robinson was the initial perpetrator at the Midget Melee in MSG. Had nobody else got involved, J.R. Smith would have knocked Robinson back to the Shire. That brawl became even more embarrassing after Carmelo Anthony slapped, not punched, Jared Jeffries and then ran away like there was a fire. The scene at MSG was like the scene between the rival gangs in West Side Story, it was that cheesy. There were some rather heavy suspensions dealt by Stern to "send a message," but apparently not many players got the message.
Last week Kevin Garnett and Antonio McDyess got into a fight that looked eerily similar to a playground fight between two fourth grade boys. Garnett throws the ball at McDyess, McDyess pushes Garnett, Garnett throws a sissy little punch that doesn't connect and then backpedals almost all the way back to Minnesota. I hope Garnett sat in the corner of his room and thought about what he did during the whole one game he was suspended. Yeah, one game. Some message Stern, if anything you are saying that the type of behavior displayed by Garnett is not only acceptable but actually mildly inviting because it might boost ratings.
The third instance simply involved Baron Davis of the Warriors throwing a punch at Clipper Quintin Ross, for which Davis is also receiving a one game suspension.
All of these displays of unsportsmanlike conduct are a black eye to the NBA and sports players everywhere. I personally don't like to watch crybaby millionaires fighting like little kids, and quite frankly I'm sure there are not a lot of people that like to either. Why else would NHL ratings be so low?

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