News came down today that Kobe Bryant will be suspended for hitting Manu Ginobili with an unintentional elbow in last Sunday’s game between the Lakers and the Spurs. Kobe says he is “shocked” by the suspension.
I side with Kobe for three reasons:
1) The policing of behavior in NBA games has gotten way out of control. The knee-jerk pendulum swing in terms of new rules about flagrant fouls, automatic suspensions and the like is perhaps understandable in the wake of the Artest and ‘Melo brawls in the last few years, but that does not make it right. Apparently, players must now be sure not to do anything accidentally.
2) Manu Ginobili has faked so many fouls over the years that he deserves any physical harm that comes his way.
3) I’d be willing to bet that the league office reviewed this incident because of a whining phone call from the Spurs organization, which continues to deceive its fans and the media by trying to position itself as a bastion of class and good sportsmanship.
What kills me about the ESPN article reporting this incident is Phil Jackson’s quote near the end. The years of favorable calls Kobe and Shaq received during the Lakers’ title run must have slipped his mind.
Edit: Link of NY Times article including quote where Phil Jackson has been â€œa little disappointed with how Kobeâ€™s been treated as a premier player over the last couple of weeks.â€