I am the Co-Host of the Careless Whispers podcast on the CLNS radio network, on Tuesdays at 9 eastern. I host many of our Celtics postgame podcasts, and occasionally produce articles for CLNS.com. My intention is to be as objective as possible. I like turkey sandwiches.
"I want to play," he told ESPN. "I mean, why wouldn't I want to play? But at the same time, this is my career, this is my future, this is my life. I can't leave that up to anybody else because nobody else is going to take care of me. So, if people are pissed off that I don't play or if I do play, whatever it may be, so what? This is my career. If I go down, then what? Everybody's life is going to go on. I don't want to have another summer where I'm rehabbing and trying to get healthy again."That quote makes it pretty clear that his priorities are with the upcoming free agency period and the continuation of his career. That is not necessarily evil or even unreasonable. As much as we like to pretend that loyalty, pride, and glory in sport stand above all else, the reality is that professional sports is a business that athletes perform in primarily for financial incentive. There is nothing wrong with that. But Kobe is never going to be able to adapt to that mentality. Not because he is desperate to win a sixth title in the twilight of his career, but rather because he has been desperate to win a title every year of his career. He believes that Howard should play through his torn labrum because he didn't miss any time with the exact same injury in 2003, without even bothering to take Dwight's priorities into account. It all boils down to the reason why Kobe will never completely relate to Dwight Howard, the same reason why he will never motivate Dwight to be the player Kobe thinks he should be, and the same reason why Kobe will never be a successful NBA coach. The only way that Kobe Bryant knows how to win is to be Kobe Bryant. And he doesn't care what Dwight thinks.
If contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpreted to be unnecessary, a flagrant foul--penalty (1) will be assessed.Yep. That's it. That is the entire rule. Anytime somebody tells you, "the rules say ___________ is a flagrant foul", they are incorrect. The official NBA rulebook is non-specific on flagrants and leaves it up to the officials to determine what "unnecessary" means. There is a more specific criteria that the league office uses to determine flagrant fouls after the fact, which includes such factors as unnecessary contact, intent to injure, injury result, and altercations resulting from the play. But league policy is to make the rule intentionally vague to leave it to the discretion of the official to determine what "unnecessary contact" is. With that in mind, take a look at the first thing the officials saw when reviewing the Bogans foul.At the point at which contact occured, this image paints a clear picture of exactly where and how Bogans fouled Barbosa. His right arm is holding Barbosa's right wrist. Is this contact necessary? It is most certainly a foul, but it is necessary to grab his wrist to prevent him from getting off a potential shot attempt. The wrist grab is a common intentional foul in the NBA and is almost never ruled a flagrant. The left arm of Bogans is wrapped around the chest of Barbosa. Is this contact necessary? It is important to note that the point of contact is not the head or neck, but the chest. If Bogans had grabbed the right wrist of Barbosa without attempting to hold him up with the other arm, with Barbosa rising at the angle his body appears to be in this picture, the play certainly results in an extremely hard fall for Barbosa with a high probability for injury.Unfortunately for Barbosa and the uninitiated watching at home on their televisions, when they think about the play, all they can see is this:If you only saw this image, perhaps you would be inspired to write a sarcastic catch phrase over it and think that it was an obvious flagrant foul. But go back to the first picture. Bogans has his arm wrapped around Barbosa's chest, but the angle of Leandro's body and the space between them makes it obvious that Bogans does not have physical control over where Leandro will land. He has two options. He can either simply let go and let Barbosa have a painful fall, or attempt to keep him up, and perhaps not be entirely successful. Even in the picture above it is obvious that Barbosa does not have his legs underneath him. It's unfortunate that Barbosa's head ended up in that position, but that was the result of gravity and momentum more than any unnecessary action Bogans might have taken. And thus, we have yet another correct call that will fan the flames of conspiracy wingnuts.