By Bryan Jeon
In last night’s 117-107 2OT loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant delivered another face smack in the act of shooting. We all remember the incident to Manu Ginobili and his face in the end of January, which called for a one-game suspension. Be surprised if Bryant receives a penalty anything less than one game, as the move was an exact mirror image just replayed onto Marko Jaric‘s face.
If I may say a word, the last suspension was undeserving and this future one will as well. First and foremost, last night’s play at the end of regulation should have been a shooting foul on Jaric before he was slapped, as he collided with Bryant in the air as Kobe shot. Second of all, give him the flagrant foul. I won’t waste anyone’s time disputing a couple of foul shots but to suspend him for a whole game for what, an offensive foul probably less punishing than taking a charge from Shaquille O’Neal. I’d much rather get bitch-slapped by Kobe, thank you very much.
And while we’re on that note, let’s analyze what league disciplinarian, Stu Jackson called driving “a stiff arm backward” in the incident against Ginobili. Not to contest the literal meaning of that phrase, but in actuality you’ll see how harmless the connotation really is. Picture someone on either side of you (unless you want to use a real person, hard evidence is always encouraged), raise your arm in the air without bending it and swing it sideways as hard as you want where the person’s face would be (unless they’re really there, aim for the cheek). Now do the same thing with a bend this time, and you’ll realize that a stiff arm backwards with an open hand can’t possibly be anything more than a hard foul. A decision on the penalty is expected before the Lakers’ next game at the Milwaukee Bucks.
Update: As expected, Bryant received a one-game suspension for tonight’s game, as Milwaukee defeated the Lakers, 110-90. Andrew Bogut led the Bucks with 20 points on 9 for 11 shooting while Maurice Evans scored a team-high 17 points. An undeserving suspension that even Jaric admits to.