Dahntay Jones should be kicked out of the NBA indefinitely.
When he applies for readmission, after this season is over, he should be required to explain his rationale behind his cowardly, and dangerous, move of sliding under Kobe Bryant as the Los Angeles Lakers star was attempting a would-be game-tying jumper against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night.
The shot missed, Bryant rolled on the floor after landing on Jones’ foot and now Bryant is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. In fact, Bryant called it the worst sprained ankle of his 17 NBA seasons.
Not only was Jones not disciplined, he wasn’t even called for a foul on the play. At least the NBA acknowledged that Jones should have been called for a foul and Bryant should have been awarded free throws.
That’s not enough, though.
I’m pretty confident that there is an unwritten code of conduct in the NBA. Fouling someone hard to try to prevent him from making a layup - as long as it is not a flagrant foul - does not violate the code. Sliding under a shooter tramples all over it.
The NFL meted out discipline in the New Orleans Saints “bounty scandal,” case. Why no discipline here?
NBA players, as some of the most overpaid people on the planet, should expect tough, even merciless, criticism when they are not performing up to expectations.
They also have the right to expect basic protection when they play. “Protect the shooter,” is a code officials supposedly use from pee wee basketball on up.
Bryant has let his displeasure about the entire situation be known. According to the Associated Press, he tweeted about it and included a hash-tag: “cleanupthegame.”
Kobe has his many fans and his many detractors, but no one can say that the sure first-ballot Hall of Famer is not a tough-minded player. It takes a lot for him to yell “Foul!,” after he has been, well, fouled.
The late great coach Vince Lombardi once said, “The name of the game is to win. Honorably, within the rules, but to win.”
Too many people are ignoring the “Honorably, within the rules,” admonition. They just want to win.
In this case of dishonor, Jones caused Bryant the worst sprained ankle of his career.
I have never been a huge fan of Kobe’s, even when he’s led the Lakers, my favorite NBA team, to championships. I’m with him on this one, though.