NBA, Smack / Mar 10, 2014 / 4:45 pm

Marcin Gortat Wants The NBA To Be More Like The NHL & Allow In-Game Fighting

Marcin Gortat

Marcin Gortat (Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

There are a lot of Dime readers who seem to think the contemporary NBA has gone soft. Whether it’s the flopping, the constant complaints to the refs, or just the inability to take contact and stay on the court, people — wrongly — assume NBA players are just flittering away out there barely touching each other as 6-9, 250-pound men run and jump and collide in a game that causes a lot of contact, both inadvertent and intentional. It seems those Dime readers would be just fine with Marcin Gortat‘s recent idea for resolving in-game disagreements.

The Polish Hammer, as some refer to Gortat, spoke with Kyle Weidie for True Hoop, and explained how pugilism would help NBA players blow off a little steam on the court:

I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight …

During the game?

During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game … these two guys, they resolved their problem. They’re both suspended and they’re leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea [chuckles].

First, could you imagine if this actually became a reality? Second, it’s definitely a good thing Adam Silver would never, under any conditions, even dream of instituting Gortat’s aggressive proposal for settling in-game disputes.

There’s a large segment of hockey fans that think they should outlaw fighting in hockey, and there’s just as large a segment of hockey fans who think those fans should stop being wimps. While we enjoy watching hockey live, we don’t fall in one direction or the other when it comes to fighting on the ice, nor do we possess the necessary information to make an informed guess as to the ramifications of a change or not making a change to the NHL’s current status quo.

But we know that this idea would destroy the game of NBA basketball as we know it. Not because watching NBA players attack each other in one-on-one fights wouldn’t be entertaining — of course it would, in a Gladiator at the Coliseum Hunger Games sort of way — but because there’s too much at risk and NBA players are the biggest baddest guys around. Someone would probably get killed.

I know hockey and football fans might crucify me in the comments, but NBA players are simply bigger, more athletic and probably (as a whole) stronger than any other professional athlete. It’s a simple size evaluation; although I have no objective proof of this being true, it’s pretty simple logic to follow: The NBA has the biggest guys in the world, if those guys fought, it would lead to some severe damage.

Have you ever seen footage of Kermit Washington hitting Rudy Tomjanovich in the face? The below GIF is blurry for a reason.

The punch was dreadful and nearly ruined both men’s lives (go read David Halberstam’s section on “The Punch” in The Breaks of the Game).

Plus, if you want to watch guys pulverize each other with their bare hands there are plenty of outlets that condone such behavior. The NBA is about fluidity, grace, and the best athletes in the world (seriously, THE BEST) playing the most musical and beautiful (â„¢Clyde) game on the planet. Even brief bouts of fisticuffs would desecrate a game we all love.

So while it’s hysterical what Gortat said, we’re glad it’s never going to become a reality.

(True Hoop; H/T PBT)

Which two players would you want to see fight?

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  • stayneutral

    As for best athletes in the world, I put football and hockey both above the NBA. What other sport can you make a team (albeit a bench player) because you are tall and can jog well enough to pull down some rebounds. Don’t get me wrong, there are some freakishly athletic big men in the NBA but for the most part they can not compare to the NFL and NHL athletes as a whole.

    That being said, toughness does not come with size. Note Lebron’s mask for a broken nose. A broken nose or lost teeth happen pretty commonly in the NHL and those guys don’t miss a shift. Also, take a look at some of the previous scuffles during NBA games. Most often the players wildly throw punches and miss because they do not know how to fight making them less dangerous than a 5′ 2″ guy who knows how to throw a punch.

  • JAY

    Athleticism is a combination of strength, speed, quickness, and conditioning. There are 350lbs NFL players with +20% body fat… all the way up to 30% body fat. Find any player in the NBA with that much body fat. Generally speaking, QBs barely run… and if they do, some frown on it. They would rather a QB who can operate in the pocket. Kickers only do one thing. NFL players play in 4 second spurts.
    Talking strictly athleticism… NBA players can’t compare to NFL players?? Sure… whatever you say.