On Tuesday night, Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin sat out his team’s game against the Brooklyn Nets because of “rest.” It got me thinking – if the Clippers were playing the Warriors, would Griffin be sitting out to “rest?” Hell no. Granted, there is more on the line against their biggest competition in the Western Conference, but sitting out against any team is pure, uncut disrespect.
That means at one point the Clippers and/or Blake Griffin looked at the schedule, saw who they were playing and said: “Nah, we’re good.” This isn’t anything unusual; superstars rest all the time. But when they do it against the cellar-dwelling teams of the league, you know a majority of the reason it happens is because “don’t worry, we’re still going to win.”
Is this the most disrespectful thing you can do in the NBA? Yes, yes it is. But there are worthy challengers, listed below:
Stepping over someone
Made famous by Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Iverson stepped over the corpse of Tyronn Lue, whom he, mere seconds earlier, had just roasted over a burning flame with a nice garlic mozzarella cheesesteak rub. Let’s not act like Lue was in the way, either; yes, he fell right at his feet, but Iverson could have very easily taken a different path back to the other side of the court or simply jumped over him. But no, not AI. There was the thrust of his leg over Lue’s body to ensure maximum coverage, the death stare, the swagger, the emphasis on stomping the plant foot as if the Marines had just planted the flag on Iwo Jima.
Before this moment, stepping over an opponent was never really thought of as disrespectful -- more of an inconvenience or nuisance -- but the second after Iverson’s action, if you stepped over someone in the NBA you’d better be prepared to throw fists because it became the ultimate sign of telling someone “you are nothing more than a peasant.”
Staring at a victim after posterizing him
You’ve already embarrassed him enough with a dunk so vigorous it was felt by his ancestors, and an additional stare articulating superior masculinity is an act so insolent it can’t ever be forgiven or forgotten. If this act is committed against you, you are by law mortal enemies for the rest of eternity until the act is repaid in equal or greater stature.
Staring at a victim after crossing him up even before shooting
Maximum disrespect of this action requires the shot to actually go in, however a case can be made that if it doesn’t it’s even more disrespectful that you assumed it would. Making eye-contact with a defender, as he helplessly flaps around on the floor in an attempt to save his reputation, is the basketball equivalent of drinking the last Gatorade in the fridge in front of your hungover roommate and dropping the bottle at his feet.
Sneaking into the opposing team’s huddle
Imagine if Achilles, Odysseus, and the Greek army rode into Troy on the Trojan Horse instead of inside it. The ultimate “I’m not even trying to be sneaky, and I’m willing to bet you’re not going to do anything to stop me” move.
Not flinching at an emasculation attempt
You are so weak that I’ll give you a free shot to see what type of damage you can inflict because even the worst-case result won’t make me blink.
Holding back everyone on the bench
An act that usually follows an ankle-breaking crossover or massive dunk, nothing says “you just got got and we are here to reinforce the notion that it was a court-storming-worthy play” quite like a bunch of grown men preventing each other from performing said court-storming. Think of bench-holding as “The Shelter” crowd at the end of 8 Mile when they get behind Eminem chanting “WHAT!? WHAT!? WHAT!?” at Papa Doc. You know there’s nothing you can do other than hand the mic back in and live to fight another day.
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Pointing a finger into an opponent’s face
By doing this you’re pretty much daring the recipient to take it and snap it in half. Or, if it’s Metta World Peace – eat it. But that’s why you did it – you know he’s not going to because 1) he’s not about that life; 2) he doesn’t want to get suspended, and is thus, once again, not about that life; 3) he doesn’t want to get into a fight after he grabs the finger because, you guessed it, he ain’t about that life.
Unless your name is Chris Paul, Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson or Earl Boykins -- where geometry supports throwing a ball through a much taller opponent’s legs and might actually provide you with an advantage in getting past the defender quicker -- the only purpose for attempting a nutmeg is for the highlight to make YouTube.
Throwing a ball off someone’s back during an inbounds play
Part bad defense, part hold this “L”; you just got punk’d.
Mocking an opponent’s celebration gesture
Demeaning, brazen, and no respect for tradition. Might as well be a middle finger.
Gesturing to the opposing team that it needs a timeout
Like giving an opposing army commander a white towel and telling him to wave it or face utter annihilation.
Not shaking hands with a teammate after a free throw attempt
Teammate-to-teammate disrespect. Of all the different religions on Planet Earth today, one that unifies us all is no matter who or where you are is that you ALWAYS throw dap to your teammate after the first of two free throws. There is no explanation as to why this exists, it is the Big Bang Theory of basketball. Scientists can investigate all they want, they’ll never find out when this actually originated. However, the fact remains: If you don’t perform this subtle yet important act the chemistry you and your teammates have established is extinct. Basketball players are creatures of habit, and this is the nucleus.
Intentionally fouling an opponent who stinks at free throws
A strategic, mathematical play that simultaneously enfeebles the shooter. It doesn’t even matter whether he makes the free throws -- the fact that you thought, “We’d rather have you shoot two wide-open, uncontested 15-footers than attempt to play defense that could potentially result in conceding zero points” is a direct slap in the face to the underwhelming skill level of the target.
Backing up from a jump shooter daring them to actually shoot
The ultimate “you are completely worthless” gesture – you disrespect the opponent’s abilities so much that you’re willing to give him a free shot at the goal, completely uncontested, because you’re confident he’s going to miss. It’s a move that says, “Literally nothing about your shooting ability intimidates me.” This is the basketball equivalent of a man questioning and publicly making fun of another man’s virility.
Stiff-arming an opponent's face while dunking on him
The only thing worse than getting dunked on is getting stiff-armed into oblivion and then getting dunked on.
Shooting a meaningless shot at the buzzer during a blowout
The most underrated disrespectful act you can commit on a basketball floor. There could be an NBA record broken that night and/or an important victory or loss, and the only thing players will remember is the scrub who ran up the score at the buzzer when no one was even trying. There is no explanation for this, it's just basketball science.
Two schools of thought here:
1) As they say in boxing: "When in the ring, defend yourself at all times." Some will say that this is on the defense -- if it truly doesn't want to be scored on/embarrassed like this, stay out there and play defense.
2) It shouldn't have to. It's an unwritten rule in the NBA if the game has gotten out of hand and the shot clock is off, you dribble out the remaining seconds. If you try to score, you are walking over everything that is sacred about surrendering.