The Bucking Broncho: NBA’s Super Punch Out
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, and Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza have words before both of them were ejected in the closing seconds of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 113-102. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Last week, NBA players weren’t so happy with one another and referees. The week started on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an NBA landmark holiday, but players would do less celebrating and more fighting with there being 21 technical fouls called.
This made the NBA the main topic of discussion, which is something that it shouldn’t be scared to embrace.
The star attraction of the night was the Clippers and Rockets’ fight, with the game being broadcasted on TNT. Rockets’ James Harden, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green followed Chris Paul down the Staples Center’s yellow brick road, that is the secret tunnel, to try and break into the Clippers locker room after the game.
— Davide Chinellato (@dchinellato) January 16, 2018
The Drama of the day showed how the NBA dominates social media more than any other professional sport withNBA fans and shows not getting enough of the fight, with it dominating mainstream media for days and especially for that night. ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski’s tweets that contained details of the fight did the impossible and got more attention than what President Trump tweeted that night.
Twitter wasn’t the only media source blowing up the fight. TNT’s Inside the NBA joked about the fight on their show the entire night and arguably led to one of Charles Barkley’s greatest TV moments.
A dramatic reenactment of last night’s Rockets vs. Clippers game, performed by Sir Charles Barkley… 📞😂 pic.twitter.com/VepWL0lwMt
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 16, 2018
The drama between the two teams is must-see TV and left fans begging for a Rockets vs. Clippers playoff series.
The next day, the Orlando Magic shooting guard Aaron Affalo threw a monster punch at Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Nemanja Bjelica. The punch brought up the question “what is going on with the NBA?”
Aaron Affalo don’t have no hands dawg lmao missed son whole face pic.twitter.com/sjDXWxtO0o
— EL FOOSAY (@SheHatesJacoby) January 17, 2018
The NBA, for a non-contact sport, has always been a physical league that sometimes fights. Teams in the past have made their whole legacy from that reputation, like the Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys”, Pat Riley’s Knicks and Pat Riley’s early Heat teams. So, maybe most of it came from Pat Riley teams, but the league has always had fighting even if it was mostly from his teams.
The NBA has made rule changes since the 1990’s that lowered the physical play with the main example being hand checking. This hasn’t eliminated fighting, but has just made it a rare occasion to see a fight. Last season, the NBA had one memorable fight between Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez and Toronto Raptors power forward Serge Ibaka.
Now, no one wants to see players actually just sit there and fight each other like a boxing match. They just want the build up and the drama that would lead to a fight. Look at professional wrestling: everyone knows its fake, but people tune in each in every week and its not to see the fighting. It’s to see the soap opera that professional wrestling creates and watch a story play out.
With the NFL going through the struggles they are right now, the NBA has a legitimate chance to take over as Americas top sport. The all drama of last week, has leaving fans wanting more. When the NBA is on prime time TNT, they know drama.