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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Old School Kobe It’s outrageous! It’s egregious! It’s outragegregious! Kobe Bryant! Two games! Whatever! Shaq received a one game suspension for using profanity in a televised post-game interview, and three games for throwing a wild haymaker at former Bull Brad Miller, so Kobe’s two-gamer for a forearm shiver slots in nicely on the Draconian punishment scale of the image conscience NBA. Hey, in a League where you can be fined for wearing white after Labor Day, Kobe’s just lucky his punishment wasn’t determined by Richard Blackwell. But a much bigger issue is afoot. Namely, what’s up with Kobe? “Any player that was going to come down the lane at that point in time, I was going to let them know that he can’t just walk through there,” Kobe reportedly said after the game. “Somebody comes down the lane, you’ve got to hit him”. Fair enough. We all witnessed T-Mac gliding in uncontested for the deciding layup in the Lakers 76-74 loss to the Rockets in December. Without a true Big Man presence, Laker opponents are running the Harlem Globetrotters layup line out there. They ought to crank Sweet Georgia Brown over the PA and be done with it. But all those who believe Kobe’s “protecting the paint” rationale raise your hand. Yeah, me neither. Retaliation for the gash on his melon, courtesy of the same Mike Miller that Kobe jacked? Commenting on Shaq’s suspension after the Bulls mini-brawl, Kobe was quoted as saying, “There’s only so much a person can take as far as physical abuse! Sometimes you have to do what you have to do’. So who’s got Kobe’s back? The ‘Old Days’ had Enforcers, guys like Moses Malone, Calvin Murphy, and Kevin McHale. Mess with their teammates and you’d pay with pain. Maurice Lucas may have been a vegetarian, but low bridge Bone Spur Bill Walton and he’d eat you alive. Or better yet, take it out on their Star. Hit Walt Frazier and Phil Jackson, yes the Zen Master himself, would reduce your guy to a smear on the hardwood. In Geo-politics, we call this “Mutually Assured Destruction”.In sports, it’s “Competitive Balance”. But as with all things for the Lakers, if something needs doing, only Kobe steps up. So call it whatever you want. Nice guys finish last. Only the strong survive. Homie don’t play that. I prefer, Kobe goes Old School. Deal with that, Mr. Blackwell. ALLEN YANG 29 Northridge Actuary/Health Insurance NBA should take a cue from the supreme court Consistency and openness are not hallmarks of theNBAs officials, on and off the court. Last week, Kobe Bryant was handed a two gamesuspension for elbowing Mike Miller in the throat. The league deemed it was unnecessary and excessivecontact. To judge Bryant’s actions, you need a point of areference for comparison. Calling it a cheap shot,or defending it as basic NBA basketball – as Bryantdid – are arguments that dont get to the heart ofwhether the punishment met the crime. You can’t justconsider Bryant’s suspension independently – its arelative issue. In law, its called precedent. Unfortunately, the league hasn’t been the best atestablishing a precedent. Do you remember when KarlMalone bashed in Steve Nashs teeth with a flyingelbow? Do you remember what his suspension was? Ididnt. I had to look it up. Malone got a one game suspension for his infraction. Huh? Nash loses his teeth, and Malone loses one gamefor it? Maybe it was Bryant’s less than remorseful post-gamecomments that got him the extra game. Or was it thepremeditated nature of the act? If these were factors,they were never stated by the NBA in its ruling. I’m starting to think that the league should have afull explanation of their reasoning for eachsuspension, explicitly listing each factor and how itinfluenced their final decision. Maybe even throw ina dissenting opinion, for kicks. Just like the SupremeCourt. The Supreme Basketball Court. How can the players know what is expected of them whenthe suspensions come down as if from some deity, withlittle explanation and justification? If players knew exactly what they had done wrong, andthe consequences for those actions, they could adjusttheir behavior accordingly. When Bryant was asked what he would do differently, hereplied, “I’d just hit him a little softer.” But how would he know if that would at all change thelength of his suspension? He wouldn’t. Coaches and players often complain that the gamereferees dont always have to be correct, they justhave to be consistent. The same standard should beheld for those who decide the suspensions. Was the suspension appropriate, too harsh or toolight? The answer is: we dont know, because of theinconsistency and hidden logic behind the leaguesdecisions. JEFF ZIMMER 46 Sherman Oaks Producer/Director ElimiDate Surprise! It’s a truism that if you keep pulling on a dog’s tail, that dog may eventually turn around and bite you. This should be no surprise. Last week after Mike Miller put a hit on Kobe Bryant that required three stitches to close, Bryant responded by playing Whack-a-Mole on Miller’s throat. He was given a flagrant foul. This should be no surprise. For this the NBA suspended Bryant for two games. Kobe’s reaction: “Very, very surprised.” If so, it’s the biggest surprise since Captain Renault was “shocked” to find gambling going on at Rick’s in Casablanca. After the game, Bryant did not help his case by copying the current administration’s foreign policy by saying: “I hit first and ask questions later.” He later added: “That’s just basic NBA basketball.” You could imagine how surprised and pleased the NBA marketing guys were about that. Apparently Bryant hadn’t noticed the NBA has been trying to clean up the game’s image ever since Ron Artest and company decided to go WWE Smackdown in Detroit last year. Tough suspensions were handed out. This season the league introduced a new travel dress code so the players would look more like professional athletes rather than professional thugs. Bryant also apparently didn’t notice the Atlanta Hawk’s Josh Smith was suspended for two games less than a month ago for basically doing the same thing to Raja Bell. That’s called precedent. Yes, Kobe’s a superstar and Josh Smith’s … well, Josh Smith, but how would it look for Commissioner Stern to crack down on bad behavior and then let one of the most high profile players in the game get away with it? He couldn’t. Instead Stern gave Kobe a “Go directly to jail” card, “Do not pass go, do not collect $289,943 dollars.” So there’s no reason Kobe should be surprised. The Lakers lost both games while Kobe was suspended. If they had won without him, then he really could have been “very, very surprised.” I certainly would have been. At least the rest of the team got to see what its like to shoot the ball during the 4th quarter (though unfortunately not through the basket). Yes, the dog bit and had to be punished. After the “surprise” wore off, I think Kobe probably got the message. But Kobe got out his message too: maybe some will think twice before pulling that particular dog’s tail. JABA TSITSUASHVILI 17 Encino Student at Taft High Revenge Hurts I feel like I’ve grown up with Kobe Bryant. He was the reason I became a basketball fanatic. I was too young to really appreciate the greatness of Michael Jordan, so when Kobe entered the League in 1997, it was he who sucked me in with his amazing dunks and confident swagger. And I have defended him to my last breath against countless cynics through the “ball-hogging,” the Shaquille O’Neal situation, and even the trial. But after seeing his assault on Mike Miller, there is not much I can say about the situation that Kobe already hasn’t. As if throwing a well-aimed elbow to Miller’s throat wasn’t enough, Kobe felt the need to publicize his intentions, pouring lighter fluid on the fire he ignited. The fact that he seemed almost proud of his dirty deed surely helped turn the situation into a media frenzy. “If somebody comes down the lane, you got to hit him.” I understand his reasoning in saying that is “just basic NBA basketball,” but for all the time Bryant has spent in Tinseltown, he’s not a very good actor. Basic NBA basketball never included elbowing a player in the throat 15 feet away from the basket after he’s already passed the ball. Lakers fans will agree that Kobe has taken his fair share of hits this season. But when Josh Howard of the Mavericks and Miller tagged him with rough fouls, both were in the flow of the game. Clearly frustrated, Kobe decided to exact some malicious payback. But as boneheaded as the League Office may be at times (how about a story on the age limit?) they can surely tell the difference between a hard foul and a blatantly over-the-top retaliation. And with David Stern cracking down on anything approaching a PG-13 rating this year, the only thing Kobe should be “very surprised” about is the fact that his suspension did not exceed two games. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BRUCE BOCKMAN 44 center_img Los Angeles Editor/Television last_img