That was the play, or more like retaliation, which came about 30 seconds following Lakers’ Lamar Odom being ejected from the game for intentionally trying to run over Mavericks’ star Dirk Nowitzki, as Nowitzki jogged down the floor, helplessly.
“The most Bush league thing I’ve ever seen,” were the words from head ESPN announcer for the game, Mike Tirico. I cannot agree more with Tirico, as he called it as he saw it immediately after it took place live. It didn’t take him a couple replays to call it Bush league. He called it right then.
As did Nowitzki, who appeared to attempt to grab the arm Lakers’ thug Andrew Bynum, to get his attention. As Bynum walked away, Nowitzki seemed to say, “That’s Bush league,” or did he say, “That’s bull shit,” or did he say, “You’re a bitch.” I guess we’ll never know… maybe it was a mixture of the three. Something in German I’m sure.
However, as I make that German joke about Dirk, I am here not to make jokes but to take this event very seriously. Never in my life have I ever seen someone on a court show absolute no intent in going for the ball as a helpless basketball player, in this case the less than 6-foot tall Jose Barea, and knocking them to the ground so violently. As you saw, or you can still see by replaying the above video, Barea easily could have come down onto the floor so much worse than he did. If he had tried to catch himself, it could be a Andrew Bogut situation, which we all know what happened there with a broken arm.
Bynum’s immature, grotesque act of violence had nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with how immature and tempered he is a a 7-foot tall, freak athlete with reckless disregard. Bynum has nothing but a high school diploma, having never gone to college. And he showed in this act alone (I wont mention his regular season flagrant foul, similar to this one, on Michael Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves, which got him kicked out of that game – YouTube it.)
I believe it was Skip Bayless on ESPN’s First Take, who said Bynum did this as though he didn’t want to play the game anymore because he could no control his frustrations. It was either Bayless or Chris Broussard, who said it. He compared this incident to the foul on Beasley in that Bynum didn’t want to play anymore.
As if the foul alone wasn’t enough, Bynum showed that he knew what was coming and showed that he didn’t care about it one bit. After committing the foul, Bynum walks in a direct line to the locker room not even letting his teammates stop him. Also, about five seconds after committing the foul, Bynum takes off his jersey – he knows he’s done.
Some people might think that now that the Lakers’s season is over, Bynum, and Odom alike, cannot be suspended because there won’t be games to play. Those people are wrong. Bynum, especially, should face the league’s harshest of punishments, by being fined a huge sum of money, as well as being suspended for at least the first 20 games of next season with which ever team he will be playing for. At least 20 games…
I don’t see any other punishment that would have fewer games than 20. Odom, on the other hand, should be suspended for at least 5-10, for his actions were not as serious, however should almost be taken the same as Bynum’s. Odom blindsided the Mavericks’ best player, Nowitzki, thus could have forced an injury.
Both fouls were intentional. Both fouls were flagrant. Both players should be harshly punished for their reckless, careless actions.
“Start throwing things at him,” my brother, Andy, said as Bynum walked off of the floor in Dallas, after committing the terrible foul. My brother was just as stricken as I was by what had happened that he was suggesting the crowd start to throw their beers, foam fingers and nachos at the scum that is now Andrew Bynum.
Other than the fouls themselves, there were a a few things I found interesting about the things that happened before and after Bynum’s foul. But first, you should also see Odom’s flagrant, so you know, if not already, the extent to which he deserved to be thrown out of the game.
First and most importantly, I feel as though Bynum’s foul could have been prevented if head coach Phil Jackson had taken control of his team. “Control your players Phil,” I shouted at the TV after Bynum’s borderline assault. I was floored that Jackson, a highly respected, legendary coach could now control his team. I understand that he can’t stop Bynum from doing what he wants to do; however, I want to know if Jackson brought his team together after Odom’s foul and said anything like, “That’s enough of this. We cannot do this, it is unnecessary.” If not, he should’ve.
Then there’s Bynum’s post-elbow actions. He took his jersey off in front of the whole arena crowd, showing total disrespect for the fans, the Mavericks, and even his own team. Now the experts are saying he’s taken that jersey off for the last time. And I would be shocked if he, of all people, was still a Laker next season.
Finally, go back to the Bynum video and pay attention to the realtime blow that Bynum delivered. After he does it, look at Kobe, who is right next to the paint. Kobe Bryant simply puts his hands on his hips and dips his head and shakes it in disbelief. And then, three of the Lakers on the floor are escorting Bynum out and trying to settle him down, although it’s too late… notice, Bryant is not with his team in that situation. He stays by Barea. This shows that he had lost that team. Bynum commented to the press earlier in the series that the Lakers have “trust issues” but maybe it was all Bynum, a player who clearly had his own agenda and didn’t care about his team.
After the game, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, a former Laker legend, felt he had to apologize for his former team. Magic was a commentator for ABC for the game, in the studio, and HE had to apologize for what the Lakers had done. Magic had tears in his eyes – that was not the Laker franchise he came to play for, know, and love.
One of the ABC commentators on the floor in Dallas commented at the time of Bynum’s foul that the Lakers were a “class organization,” and he didn’t understand why it was happening. Bynum is obviously not the class of this organization, and should no longer by a player for this organization. Bynum tried to injure a player who was helpless and probably weighed over 100 pounds less than Bynum. He walked immediately off the court, showing no sympathy or emotion whatsoever. He ruined the Laker name. He embarrassed the organization, the owners the general manager, and worse he will be the thing we remember about Phil Jackson’s last game as an NBA coach.
“Disgusting,” Tirico said.