Yanking Arms In The NBA

The NBA Playoffs are progressively getting more physical.

During the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Cleveland Cavalier forward Kevin Love had his shoulder dislocated by Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk. That play ended Love’s season.

Was it a dirty play? Kevin thought so, as do I, based convincingly on this Associated Press photo of what was occurring during the play. Look at that grip by Olynyk and the expression on his face.

Kevin Love - Kelly OlynykThere is absolutely no reason for Olynyk to be gripping Love’s arm the way he is doing, with his left hand and right forearm locking him in. Perhaps I am too old school, but this was never taught as a box-out move in any hoops leagues in which I competed.

As penalty, Olynyk was suspended one game without pay for ripping Love’s shoulder out of its socket and taking him out of play for four to six months. The Cavaliers did strike back later in the game and J.R. Smith was suspended two games without pay when he swung his arm at Celtics forward Jae Crowder’s head.

Later, during the Eastern Conference Finals, Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford performed a similar move to that of Olynyk. That is, he grabbed Cavaliers’ guard Matthew Dellavedova’s upper arm in the same manner, yanking him to the floor. Horford received a Flagrant II and was ejected from the game, though not for that specific play, but for what followed.

Horford claims Dellavedova was going for his legs. In video footage of the game it is clear Horford yanked the guard down and into his own teammate, DeMarre Carroll. Dellavedova stumbled over Carroll and into Horford, who, after the fall, takes an elbow swing (the actual flagrant) at the Cav’s guard and then his 250-pound body lands on his opponents arm.

The “controversy” that surrounds the decision to call a Flagrant II on Horford comes from commentators and others questioning Dellavedova’s play the night before and during the Cleveland-Chicago series.

In game two, Atlanta guard Kyle Korver and Dellavedova both dove for a loose ball. The Cav’s player ended up rolling over Korver’s lower leg resulting in the Hawks’ sharp-shooter out for the series. In the earlier series Dellavedova locked up Gibson with his legs.

Delly leg lock Chicago Sun Times
Dellavedova leg lock on Gibson – Chicago Sun Times

In the play with Korver, both dove for the ball and it is not clear the Cav’s guard landed on Korver’s lower leg on purpose but in the play with Gibson that certainly looks intentional.

However, in the first photo and video above it is very obvious that both Olynyk and Horford were intentionally taking their opponents down, not boxing them out.

It seems that upper arm holding as a method to “box out” opponents has become a common maneuver in the NBA and one that should be of concern as the potential for devastating injury certainly exists, and has already happened. Officials should take note and take appropriate steps to get that form of play eliminated from the game.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Glad Dwyane Wade Clarified Olympic Pay Statement

When it was first reported that Miami Heat All Star Dwyane Wade stated that Olympic hoopsters “should be compensated” for their time there was something that did not sit exactly right.

Ray Allen, all-time 3-point champion of the Boston Celtics and former Olympian (2000), was the first to say it, in an interview with FoxSports, a day earlier.

The basic argument, reported at the time, was that it takes a lot of time and energy away from everything else in one’s life, and that the product companies make money selling more gear. D-Wade said, “It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell.”

The point about products is interesting, especially in light of the fact that the US Olympic hoopsters are pros and many, if not all of them, earn endorsement money, be it from specific basketball related items (like Nike shoes) or hawking burgers or insurance.

One of the reasons a company chooses to pay athletes to endorse their product or service is due to the high profile.

Jesse D. Garrabrant / 2008 NBAE

Thus, when a pro baller goes to the Olympics, regardless of his current visibility status, that profile will always go up even more, especially with a Gold Medal.  A higher profile will then mean, in many cases, more endorsements, new endorsements, other ways that money finds its way into the pockets of the pro.

And, earnings for those pros endorsing products generally far outweighs their hefty NBA salary.

Thus, it is good D-Wade sort of back-stepped. He did not outright reverse.  He just said “he” doesn’t need to get paid to participate in the 2012 Olympics.

His clarification: “BUT my love 4 the game & pride 4 USA motivates me more than any $$$ amount. I repped my country in 2004 when we won the bronze medal and stood proudly to receive our gold medal in 2008 in Beijing. It’s always been an honor for me to be a part of the USA Olympic family…and I’m looking forward to doing it again in London this summer.”

And, we do look forward to Dwyane and his teammates taking the Gold.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Los Angeles Lakers 2010 NBA Champions

Sports is a tremendously huge part of the culture of Main Street USA.

Between athletic and theatrical events the citizens of America spend billions upon billions of their hard-earned dollars.

In sporting competitions it is enjoyable to follow and watch someone become the champion, the best at what they do.

This year, as they did in 2009, the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned as the Kings of Basketball after defeating their arch-rival, the Boston Celtics.


The Lakers were led all season by Kobe Bryant.

Make no mistake about it, basketball is a team activity and Kobe received a lot of assistance to acquire his 5th NBA Finals Championship Ring and his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP Award.

The series against the Celtics proved that Pau Gasol (the “Spaniard” as Kobe calls him), Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, and Luke Walton wanted that 16th NBA Title for Los Angeles possibly as much as did Kobe.

However, Kobe is Kobe.

He is a dynamic player for the ages. A winner.

He is a winner surrounded by others who desire to win as well.

Congratulations to coach Phil Jackson and all the Lakers! Especially to Kobe Bryant.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

2010 NBA Finals Game 1 Lakers and Celtics

Having lived in California for over four decades, and in the Los Angeles area for much of that time, it is hard not to be a Los Angeles Lakers fan, especially during the NBA finals, regardless of the current place of residence.

Even more so with the opportunity to avenge the tragic loss in 2008 to the Boston Celtics.

It is unlikely that the Lakers will ever get close to evening up the championship series between the two – they are down 9-2 at this point thanks to Bill Russell’s complete dominance of the game. Russell lead his Celtics team to 11 NBA Championships during his 13 seasons as a player, including 7 in match-ups against the Lakers.

Even so, the rivalry between the two most storied teams in the NBA is legend.

It continues as Kobe Bryant goes for his 5th title ring as a Laker. Game 1 shows what this series will be about.


In the day, growing up in SoCal with Boston controlling the NBA, the alternate outlet for enthusiasm was watching the UCLA Bruins, the totally dominate NCAA team, who won 10 championship titles between 1964 and 1975, including 4 undefeated seasons.

Those Caliornia memories will always remain, including the year my high school team played Jamaal Keith Wilkes (and lost). Fortunately, I did not have to guard him, my teammate did. Wilkes was later on the UCLA team that won 2 titles during 30-0 seasons in 1972 and 1973 and set the record of 88 consecutive wins and eventually played on four NBA Championship teams, one with the Golden State Warriors and the others with the Lakers.

Over For Now.

Main Street One