Thanks to the magic gremlins at YouTube, we now have direct video evidence that Kobe did, in fact, intend to hit Manu Ginobili in the face last Sunday.

In the interest of fairness, I removed my "I hate Kobe" baseball cap, my "Kobe sucks" t-shirt, my "Kobe eats live baby kittens" zubaz pants, and even my "Kobe Beefsteak" underwear (don't ask). Once I was ready to be completely impartial, I watched the video about 20 times. It breaks down like this: Kobe uses a shot fake to get Bruce Bowen into the air, drives past, elevates for the shot, has the shot stuffed by Ginobili, and then, as the players are coming down, Kobe swings his arm into Manu's face. Look, folks -- that was no "unintentional elbow," especially considering the fact that Kobe had to swing his arm wide right to clip Manu (who was beside him, not in front of him). I've played enough basketball, taken enough jumpers, and thrown enough elbows to realize that arms don't accidentally flail that way. They just don't.

And everybody should have seen this coming, considering Kobe's history of elbowery and the currrent "violence sensitivty" in the league (particulary in the wake of the Knicks/Nuggets brawl). Gone are those joyful days when Kevin McHale could clothesline Kurt Rambis and Robert Parish could sucker punch Bill Laimbeer three times in the face in front of the ref without being called for a foul. (Although it should be noted that Parish did serve a one-game suspension for that service to humanity.) The league isn't messing around this year, even if you are a marquee player: Carmelo Anthony got 15 games for his bitchslap-and-run, and Kevin Garnett even got a one-game suspension for throwing an air punch at Antonio McDyess. Furthermore, Golden State's Baron Davis, Chicago's Andres Nocioni and Phoenix's Raja Bell have all been suspended for rough play. So once again, the moral of this story is "Throw elbows at your own risk."

Unnatural Acts? Not allowed: Stu Jackson, the league's vice president in charge of discipline, provided a clear explanation of the suspension: "There was contact made with Ginobili above the shoulders. This particular action by Kobe was an unnatural basketball act. After he followed through with a shot, he drove a stiff arm backwards in a hard motion and struck Ginobili in the head." Yeah, that's pretty much what happened all right.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think this is some clear video evidence of what Kobe was trying to do. He was rewarded for it in Utah, and suspended for it on Sunday.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
That link only supports my argument: that his elbow was, indeed, intentional. If you reread my posts, you'll notice that I never claimed his intent was to hurt Manu. His intent was, clearly, to draw the foul. But the bottom line is that he meant to do it, and yet he claimed over and over that it was completely unintentional. He lied when there was no point it in. He could have just said, "I did swing my arms out to draw contact in the hopes of getting a foul call. In doing so, I accidentally hit Manu in the face, and I'm sorry." Would that have been so hard? You're telling me a three-time world champ can't just own up to swinging his arm on purpose to draw a bullshit foul? That's ridiculous.

And that's the point. The league is trying to crack down on violent plays, and they're trying to show that even superstars aren't above the law. Everybody knows this. Look, if you drive 70 in a 55 MPH zone, you really can't bitch at the cop for pulling you over (although everybody does). What I hate is the whining excuse-giving from Kobe and Phil Jackson over the whole situation.

Anyway...another observation: in your comment on my previous post, you stated that Kobe receives "zero preferential treatment." Then you give me a link to a video that shows Kobe flailing into a defender and getting the benefit of an absolutely ridiculous call in a game-ending situation. You're telling me that wasn't preferential treatment?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You guys kill me with all the Kobe hating. How can you suspend someone shooting a jump shot? Its called basketball. Unintentional things are going to happen. Its clearly the league trying to use a superstar player to justify their "no tolerance" rule. Hands down Kobe is the best player in the game, and if the NBA keeps trying to find the next MJ in Wade or LeBron its going to miss out on something really special. Respect the game.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
You kill me with your Kobe loving. How can you suspend someone shooting a jump shot? Easily, if you called that a jump shot. If I played a pickup game and someone shot a jumper like that on me, I would have spit my teeth out and tried to force-feed him both elbows so he could fondle his entrails on the inside.

You think Kobe is the best in the game? Justify that with stats. Real stats, too--don't say any BS line of "He's got three rings." That'd be like hearing the South Park retard arguing law. "Buppa chomp!" The rings were obviously due to Shaq--no Shazam, no rings.

The other reason that the League can't afford to make Kobe the next MJ is that is generally a BAD idea to have a whiny chemistry-destroying rapist represent your image. You don't see Fridgedaire marketing freezers with Jeffrey Dommer, do you? Respect the game? Kobe doesn't respect it. Basketbawful's authors respects it enough to critizice the negatives to make it better. Better for players, better for fans, and better for the long-lasting viability and success of the league.

Hell, I'll grudgingly admit that Kobe is talented. He's really good, and in the top caliber of players in the league. But he *is* given special treatment, gets away with lots of crap on and off the court, and has never shown the performance or fiber necessary to carry a team or become the kind of greatness that lasts over time.