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Kobe’s image, wallet take a hit with one word

With a poor choice of words at the most unlucky of times, Kobe Bryant will have to enter the 2011 playoffs with a newly acquired blemish on his resume.

The Los Angeles star was caught red-handed by the national lip-readers of America, hurling a homophobic slur at referee Bennie Adams, after Bryant was given a technical foul and sent to the bench.

Clearly frustrated and angered by the referee’s decision, Bryant threw a punch at his seat and launched his towel out of bounds.  Realizing that an opportunity had opened to expose Kobe’s vulnerability, the camera swiftly zoomed into his flustered face, as he fiercely muttered the two consecutive F-bombs towards Adams.

Kobe was fined $100,000 for the incident, and took heat from the press and minority groups who demanded an apology.

There’s no question that Bryant was wrong for using the word.  He dropped one of the two “no-nos”  (F-word and the N-word) when it comes to addressing players and referees, or humans for that matter.   It’s a word that covers a touchy subject, and inevitably stirs controversy while adding insult.

However in a competitive environment where emotions run high, like during a nationally televised Lakers-Spurs game,  profanity-laced rants are not uncommon.  I can’t even imagine what is said at the line of scrimmage on football Sunday, but I believe it’s more explicit than “Hey number 93, you don’t play real well” .  It’s pretty clear that Bryant meant nothing personal, and that the cringe-worthy word he used was delivered out of frustration.  He might as well called Adams a “stupid jerk”, because that was most likely the true intent of his message.

So how do we decide which words deserve $100,000 fines, and which don’t?  Had the camera crew used some better judgement, and focused their lens on the court itself rather than the boiling star-figure on the bench, would this even be a story?  Would anyone even know this happened except for Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff, who remained expressionless while sitting next to Kobe during the exchange?

The fact is that Stern had to fine Bryant. The public knew Bryant had said what he said, not because they heard it, but because the broadcast team brought it to our attention during the broadcast, and that media outlets presented it as a breaking story.  At that point, Stern had the option to fine him, or be labeled as tolerant of anti-gay remarks.

Earlier this season, Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva accused notorious bully Kevin Garnett of calling him a “cancer patient”, referring to his Alopecia that prohibits his body from growing hair.  But unlike Kobe, Garnett’s alleged remarks were not documented on camera, and therefore didn’t earn him a fine.  That’s the case for just about all of the trash that’s talked in a 48 minute contest, where abusive words are dished out with every possession.

There’s no arguing that Bryant screwed up.  He should have known that when your famous enough to go by just your first name, the camera has a tendency to follow you.  With bad timing, a controversial subject and a high-profile celebrity all rolled up into one, it made for good debate, and an attention-grabbing headline.

Categories: Uncategorized

Knicks vs. Celtics Preview

April 17, 2011 6 comments

Following a decade of embarrassment and mediocrity, the Knicks have finally made it back to the NBA playoffs.

Reaching the postseason for the first time since 2004, New York will draw a veteran Celtics group who has won all four meetings between the two this season.  Both teams are also coming off major roster shakeups with the intention of building for the future.

The Knicks added Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to go along with Amare Stoudemire, forming a “big three” that will allow the team to at least compete for a title, something they haven’t been able to say since 1999.

The Celtics recently moved center and enforcer Kendrick Perkins, who was viewed by many as the heart of Boston’s interior defense.  A close friend to many of the Celtic players, most notably Rajon Rondo, the team was not afraid to express their discontent with the deal.  They did however bring in Jeff Green from Oklahoma City, a versatile wing player who was averaging 15.2 points per game prior to the trade.

The Knicks have been up and down since Carmelo’s arrival, losing nine of ten at one point before rebounding with a seven game winning streak.  Anthony’s presence on the floor hasn’t been an easy transition for everyone, as rookie Landy Fields has seen his numbers dip across the board since the deal.

The Knicks 106.5 points per game ranks second in the NBA, however their 105.7 points allowed makes them the 28th worst defense.  Boston on the other hand leads the league in points allowed, only giving up 91 per game.

New York has struggled to find an answer for Paul Pierce this season, who has torched the Knicks in fourth quarters on a regular basis.

Boston is not playing their best basketball entering the series, finishing 10-11 in their last 21 games.  New York’s success will depend highly on their ability to keep Rondo out of the paint, who just crushes teams with his quickness and ability to break down the defense. Coach Mike D’antoni has said he plans on using forward Jared Jeffries on Rajon Rondo, with the idea of combating quickness with length.

On an injury note, the Celtics will be without center Shaquille O’neal, who has missed 45 games this season due to a foot injury.  Shaq failed a running test in practice, and has been ruled out indefinitely.

This will be the teams’ first meeting in the postseason since 1990, when the Knicks defeated the Celtics in five games in the first round.

Categories: NBA