Jordan Bell’s garbage-time dunk needs no apology, from Steve Kerr or anyone else
If you don’t like getting dunked on down 25, don’t get down by 25 in the first place.
With less than three minutes to play and the Warriors leading the Mavericks by 25 on Monday, Golden State rookie Jordan Bell threw down what could very well stand the remainder of the season as the dunk of the year — an off-the-backboard self alley-oop that nearly shook American Airlines Center to the ground, plus the foul for good measure. Have a look:
Listen, when you rock a play that leaves the likes of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durantdumbfounded by what they just saw, I don’t care what the situation is, you deserve to be celebrated. Steve Kerr, of course, doesn’t agree, as he tried to apologize to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle for Bell’s apparent lack of sportsmanship. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Carlisle wasn’t having any of it.
Give me a break with this. If you don’t want to get dunked on in spectacular fashion in a game that’s out of hand, here’s an idea: Don’t get down by 25 points in the first place. These unwritten rules meant to preserve the supposedly fragile psyches of these ultra-competitive athletes are, frankly, laughable.
Kerr had nothing to apologize for. Neither did Bell. If we’re going to talk about sportsmanship, Kerr should’ve been apologizing for Curry’s mouthpiece-throwing tantrum the game before rather than laughing it off in a post-game interview. That was actual disrespect. But an actual basketball play in an ongoing basketball game? No. The NBA, after all, is in the business of entertainment, and if the Mavs aren’t good enough to give their fans something to cheer for, they ought to be thanking the Warriors for picking up the slack. And you better believe a hard-ass coach like Carlisle is reminding his team of exactly that in some fashion. He might not have been pleased with getting shown up in the heat of the moment, but trust me, he’s much more concerned with the fact that his team has yet to win a game.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a line when it comes to respecting your opponents and the game itself. You start talking about someone’s family, you’ve crossed it. You intentionally try to hurt an opponent, you’ve crossed it. But dunking? In, you know, a basketball game? Come on, man. Next you’re going to tell me that a professional baseball player can’t celebrate hitting a home run because it might hurt the millionaire pitcher’s feelings. Oh, wait. I forgot. Can’t do that either.
I’ll tell you one person who’s with me on this baby-ball nonsense: Draymond Green’s mom.