Ever since Kobe Bryant severely sprained his ankle last night, he’s been on this weird, self-righteous crusade to smear Dahntay Jones’ name and everything about him. Sure, we get it on some level: Kobe’s pissed that he’ll be out for an indefinite period, and Jones’ foot is solely responsible. So he’s publicly shaming Jones with tweets and quotes like these:
“”As defensive players, you can contest shots, but you can’t walk underneath players,” Bryant said. “That’s dangerous for the shooter.”
Some have cited the history between the two players – Jones once not-so-inadvertently tripped Kobe as he cut backdoor during the 2009 Nuggets-Lakers Western Conference Finals – but that was four years ago. The players have crossed paths since without incident, and that seemed to be more of an in-the-moment type of thing. And, after rewinding the tape multiple times on the play from last night, it’s rather unlikely that Jones Bruce Bowen’d him. Kobe Bryant fades away, as per usual, and Jones merely closes the space upon release of the shot to contest as best he can. And that controversial leg hardly extends – it’s more like a natural progression of his forward momentum than anything else.
But nobody’s talking about what happened seconds before this play: Kyler Korver on the line, Hawks lead 93-92. On the first free throw, Kobe is the designated player meant to box out the shooter, meaning he’s closest to Korver. So what does he do? He *accidentally* falls into the lane just as Korver releases his shot, cartoonishly gesturing his arms as if he’s trying to regain balance. But it’s the first free throw, so why would Kobe be leaning towards the lane to begin with? Oh, wait, really? To distract Korver? So you’re saying that Kobe Bryant is not above dirty tricks? No. NO. Can’t be.
To be perfectly honest, this isn’t so bad. In that it’s so wildly chidlish in its blatancy, and that it works, well this is actually kind of funny. But that Kobe then has the arrogance to go and accuse Dahntay Jones of playing dirty pretty much makes us want to puke. Now, don’t get us wrong: If Jones’ foot placement was more than just a case of bad luck, then yes, it’s much, much worse than a simple breach of etiquette. But it doesn’t appear to be, and so we’re basically left with a karmic slap in the face/ankle.