Apr 29, 2008

I've never committed a foul!

There are some players in the NBA who act downright shocked every time the whistle blows and their number is signaled to the scorer's table. It wouldn't matter if they unleashed a roundhouse kick to their opponent's torso -- it would still be reason enough to cry to the officials. There are other players who feel like they are fouled on every play, especially if they miss the shot. Watching the NBA Playoffs this year has increased my annoyance with the NBA's crybabies, and inspired me to take my buddy's suggestion (the only guy who actually reads this blog) and make a list of the NBA's five biggest whiners.

5. Kobe Bryant
If you've read my other blogs, you'd know Kobe is my favorite player to watch in the NBA. I truly believe he is the best player in the world, but he still makes my list.

Kobe can walk all over most of the refs in this league, and he knows it. If he goes into the paint, one of two things will occur: 1) Kobe will get a foul called on his defender or 2) Kobe will remind the ref that he should have gotten the call.

"You can't do this to me -- I'm the best, the best!"

Granted, when you are that good, your defender often gets out of position and is forced to commit a foul. Nevertheless, he thinks he is always fouled. And when it comes to his own defense, Kobe believes it to be flawless. How many times per game do we see Kobe's sarcastic smile/laugh after his number is called for a foul? All you have to do to track this stat is to look at how many fouls he picks up during the game.

If you don't think Kobe is much of a whiner, all you have to know is this: Kobe led the NBA in technical fouls. As I mentioned earlier, he can walk all over most refs... which makes this statistic even more telling.

4. Tim Duncan
Despite Duncan's reputation as a choir boy, he whines with the best of 'em. You can probably picture the typically-stoic Duncan's reaction after a foul is called (or isn't called). The arms out, the shoulders shrugged, and the already-wide eyes even wider. He then picks up the ball defiantly, slaps it with his right hand, and angrily bounces it back to the referee.

A bigger picture would show the ball in his right hand, ready for triple-threat position

I would love to watch a game where Duncan is mic'd. I can't even imagine what he is actually saying to dispute these calls (or no-calls). I'm pretty sure the language wouldn't be as strong as Rasheed's -- there would undoubtedly be a lot of "shuck's" substituted for sh**'s. Regardless of his "clean" whining, it is whining all the same.

It's somewhat amusing watching the way Timmy's whining has almost disappeared against the Suns. Does he realize he doesn't have a gripe because the refs are doing everything they can to give San Antonio the series? Or does he realize he would be whining about Shaq and knows Shaq could crush him with one blow?

3. Rip Hamilton
Memo to Rip Hamilton: just because you are 6'7", 145 lbs, it doesn't mean you are incapable of fouling the opponent.

"I'm too skinny to commit a foul!"

I blame this attitude 100% on their trade for Sheed...

2. Rasheed Wallace
This choice probably needs less justification than his buddy Rip (above). Living in Portland, I became accustomed to Sheed's "poopy diaper" face following every whistle. It got so old, fans overcame their natural biases and did everything short of whining themselves when Sheed wasn't called for a foul.

The "Poopy Diaper" Face

The main difference between Sheed and the other whiners is that it has never mattered if Sheed was involved in the play or not. In fact, he doesn't even have to be in the game. He would probably make the same gestures if he were in the locker room watching it on a monitor.

As noted earlier, his poor attitude seems to make a horrible impact on his teammates. Before long, they all become whiners, too. Not to Sheed's level, of course. He acts like a spoiled 16-year-old girl when her daddy won't shell out the big bucks to buy her a BMW for her birthday.

He broke the NBA record for most technicals in a single season, only to re-break his own record the following season. He whined about "having" to play in the All-Star Game. Seriously, who does that? Only Sheed...

1. Allen Iverson
I never quite noticed the extent of Iverson's whining until these playoffs. While he whines when he is called for a foul, he does his real damage when he's on the offensive end. Quite literally, AI complains after every one of his shot attempts. I think he should be thrown out of every game in the first quarter. In game four, I saw at least three replays where AI made a shot, was not touched, and still managed to shoot a furious look at Dick Bavetta.

His face may soon be frozen in this expression

Sure, the guy is courageous with his drives to the basket, but more often than not he is the one who is creating the contact. Just because he is so tiny, he is the one who takes the brunt of these collisions. Shooting fouls are created by contact initiated by the defensive player or by a defender who's feet aren't set when the contact occurs. They are not created by a player flying into the lane with reckless abandon and falling hard to the floor.

What irks me even more than AI's constant lobbying for "And 1's" is his overall attitude towards authority. Isn't he supposed to be a full-grown man? He logs more minutes than any player in the NBA, yet still throws temper tantrums every time he is taken out of the game. He publicly criticized George Karl for not putting him back in the game when the Nugs were down by 23 with 7 minutes left against the Lakers. He is constantly involved in self-promotion with regards to his playing through injuries (as if we don't hear about it enough from the announcers). He demands trades and doesn't practice hard ("practice, we're talking about practice!"). As far as I'm concerned, the guy is poisonous to his team and the locker room.

It is frequently mentioned that AI is "the best player pound-for-pound in NBA history." Maybe so. I'd argue that he's "the biggest whiner pound-for-pound in NBA history."

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