Basketbrawl and Why The Sport Is Dead

by Ed Lau on December 18, 2006

By now, you will have undoubtedly heard about the big fight at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. To me, basketball has been dead for years and this is just another example. There is no other sport on the face of the planet with so many overpaid assclowns who have forgotten the definition of teamwork. No other sport with such poor attitudes, sportsmanship and generally, a lack of respect for leaders, fans and fellow players. Basketball is dead. One may argue that such problems persist in all of professional sports and to a certain degree, that would be totally correct but these problems are more evident in professional basketball than in hockey or football or even baseball (although I don’t consider baseball a sport…but that’s a discussion for another day).

Basketball has taken many steps to erase the image of the fight between the Pacers and the Pistons years ago which seemed rather similar to this one. However, even without the fighting, there’s just so much BS in basketball. Allen Iverson refuses to play after his team fines him for not attending team events. Kobe Bryant accused of rape (and just generally being a jerk). Ron Artest, centerpiece of the Pistons/Pacers fight…where to even begin with that guy. Bonzi Wells, Latrell Sprewell, Rasheed Wallace…the list goes on. There are more players with bad attitudes in the NBA than any other professional sports organization. The NFL has Terrell Owens. The NHL has Darius Kaspiritis, Sean Avery and to an extent…Todd Bertuzzi but the NBA is so permeated with whiny, showboating millionaires.

There are always exceptions to the rules and the NBA does have genuinely classy guys like Steve Nash and Dwayne Wade. I was going to say that Carmello Anthony had a good attitude but after Saturday’s debacle, we all had to rethink it a bit. In my mind, the league died when Michael Jordan retired. Jordan was a genuine sportsman and despite being possibly the greatest player ever, always thought team first. I remember the year he retired they wondered which of Vince Carter or Kobe Bryant would take the throne. While they both have talent, neither has the class.

One player, Jermaine O’Neal, is quoted in the article saying:

Yet one player involved in the Pacers-Pistons fight in 2004 said all the attention to a couple of brawls is overblown. “Listen, the NHL lets them fight. Fights happen in baseball. Fights happen in football,” Indiana forward Jermaine O’Neal said. “Why are we under scrutiny about our game?”

He’s got a bit of a point. I mean, heck, why not just make basketball a full contact sport?

However, there’s a difference. Fighting in hockey is seldom completely out of anger. There was a good fight on Saturday where Darren McCarty, a known NHL goon, gives a rookie a nice pat on the head after a fight like “Hey, good fight, kid.” Gino Odjick, one of the most famous Canuck’s enforcers was a genuinely nice guy and a fan favorite. Actually, let me rephase that. Fighting in hockey is a way to settle things on the ice and usually, it’s actually rather safe. I can’t remember the last time someone was seriously injured during a hockey fight. I mean, it’s better to drop the gloves and have at it than go at the opposing team at high speed on the ice. You fight in hockey to defend your teammates or to fire up your team. Either way, it’s about your team. Todd Bertuzzi hit Steve Moore because Moore injured his friend and Canucks captain Markus Naslund and then refused to fight Matt Cooke to even things up.

You just can’t take a run at a star player when you’re a rookie and not expect to fight…or worse, back down.

It’s different in hockey. If you have a fight, no one usually gets seriously hurt and you go back to playing the game. No one is really mad in the end and it’s left on the ice. When you look at the NBA today, there’s less and less team mentality and more selfishness and poor sportsmanship. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this wasn’t the last incident we hear of this season.

in Sports and Health

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