Yahoo! – For this, he’s a punch line now. He’s a joke. For everyone celebrating (DeAndre) Jordan’s fantastic lob dunk over a guard some 8 inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter, they’ve made Knight an object of ridicule. A widely followed parody account of comedian Kevin Hart tweeted that Jordan had been brought up on “charges of rape & aggravated assault against Brandon Knight,” and tombstones declaring Knight dead were popping up on the Internet. The message is clear to players everywhere, on every level: Run away. Hide. Don’t try to take the charge. Don’t try to disrupt the play. There’s no reward. This is how backward the basketball culture has become, how twisted the value system.
I would like to preface this by saying Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is the best basketball writer in the game today. Whether it’s breaking news, analysis, or just plain knowledge of the game, Woj is the modern day gold standard. But being the best does not necessarily mean you are always correct. And in this particular instance, Woj seems to have dated himself. Or, at the bare minimum, he makes himself out to look like someone who has never taken his game to the blacktop.
And I do mean the blacktop as opposed to the hardwood (no pause). Had this mauling happened to Brandon Knight over the summer at Rucker Park or at the Drew League, it would have been exponentially worse for him and his self-esteem. Mainly because they would have stopped the game and forced him to leave with his head hung and his pride nowhere to be found. While this game was on national television and will be replayed all over Sportscenter for weeks to come, this can be used as a teaching tool for other guards like Knight: DON’T JUMP!
Seriously, get out of the way. Literally run away with you head between you legs. No one will be upset with you. No coach will go back to the tape and go, “Gee, Brandon you really should have gotten decapitated there. No idea what you were thinking. As a matter of fact, you’re cut. Get out of my face you scrub.” That would literally never happen. Especially since, yanno, the Pistons were already down 19 in a game they had no shot at winning. But since Woj is hell bent on giving Knight credit, let’s look at what actually could have went down.
Woj points out that DeAndre Jordan has approximately eight inches and 80 pounds on Knight. Certainly a significant advantage in favor of Jordan. So in an alternate universe where Knight breaks up the lob attempt, he still fouls Jordan – which is a result every team in the league would take considering Jordan isn’t exactly Ray Allen at the charity stripe (career 43% free throw shooter). But even though Knight broke up the dunk, the way he landed on his head could have easily given him a concussion – or worse. The fact that Knight wasn’t seriously injured in the real world is borderling mind boggling considering his head was forced down from 10 feet in the air. For a point guard the Pistons hope is a cornerstone in their franchise for years to come, this was a moronic play. Now, had this been a tie game late in the fourth quarter with a trip to the playoffs on the line? Well, here’s how you handle that:
YOU STILL DON’T JUMP! NEVER JUMP! You want to foul DeAndre Jordan? Go right ahead. But make sure he isn’t finishing all over your neck (no pause again). You spear him like he’s a pig at a luau. Put him on his back. Take the intentional two and jog to the locker room with your head high and your dignity intact. You don’t give a man the dunk of the year in the second quarter of a meaningless game at your own expense. That’s a good way to make a legacy for all the wrong reasons. Brandon Knight deserves to get laughed at. Because point guards don’t block centers. That’s not their game. Never has been, never will be.
“But Nate Robinson blocked Yao Ming!” SHUT. UP. Yao Ming and his kitchen-sized-television of a head had a vert of about four inches. And on that particular play Robinson was behind Yao who was going up for (what he thought was) an uncontested dunk. Not the same at all. Had Yao finished that attempt, no one would have said, “YOOO! RIP NATE ROBINSON HE JUST GOT YAMMED ON!” anywhere in the world. Because it was a completely different scenario. But this isn’t even a reference the all power Woj made in his article. Instead, he compared it to the Blake Griffin-Kendrick Perkins collision from a year ago. Which makes less than zero sense.
As a center, Perkins is bigger, stronger, and that makes Griffin’s dunk more impressive. They gave Perkins this treatment, too. Even now, he still comes back for more. “If I was in the same position, in the same rotation, I’m going to jump again and again and again,” Perkins told Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears. “A lot of people are afraid of humiliation or don’t know how to handle embarrassment or would even get embarrassed. I don’t care. That’s my job. How will my teammates look at me if next time I just back out of the way and just let him dunk when I’m supposed to be defensive-minded, a shot-blocker? That would be a coward move on me. He’d just have to dunk on me again.”
Listen, there is no bigger Kendrick Perkins fan on the planet than the man typing up this article. But my boy Big Daddy Perk got absolutely demolished by Blake Griffin on this dunk. Yet, Perk was doing his job. Perk is a center. Perk possesses the capabilities to actually break up a dunk from another big man. Perkins WOULD be out of a job had he not contested Griffin. That’s what he’s paid to do. All centers in the NBA have been dunked on. Every last one of the them. While the internet explodes in the same fashion whenever ANYONE is murdered on the court like Brandon Knight was last night, people at least understand why Perkins’ jumped. If he hadn’t, OKC would have used their amnesty clause mid-game. It’s really that simple.
What Woj doesn’t seem to understand is that this isn’t a case where fundamental basketball is the argument. Knight would not have lost any of his teammates’ respect had he got the hell out of the way. In fact, the dunk would not have even been discussed had Knight not been murdered in front of a crowd of laughing children. It would have been par for the course for Lob City. Instead, it’s a highlight and the frontrunner for dunk of the year. While you don’t get any money or accolades for owning dunk of the year, there is a sense of pride which comes along with that title. Because getting dunked on isn’t a generational thing. It’s not even a cultural thing. It’s a basketball thing. As is getting crossed. As is having a three knocked down in your eye. All of those things are not only momentum shifters but they’re the ultimate **** talking weapons. Both of which carry a ton of clout on both the hardwood and the blacktop. To try and diminish the value of those things is a disservice to the game.
As for you Brandon Knight, I hope you learned your lesson. I forgave you for getting crossed by Kyrie Irving in the rookie-sophomore game this year because you’re both point guards and Irving is significantly better than you. I forgave you for leaving Kentucky a year earlier than you should have because hey, who the hell would want to wait another year for millions of dollars? But after the years of basketball you’ve played, getting molested on national television is flat out inexcuseable. Next time, head for the hills. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.
It wasn’t in the scouting reports that the clippers threw lobs lol
— Brandon E Knight (@BrandonKnight07) March 11, 2013