If you haven’t seen it by now, you’ve either been asleep or in a cave with Aaron Rodgers over the past 14 hours. We had another NBA skirmish Tuesday night, but this time it escalated into an all-out brawl with everybody’s favorite Warrior, Draymond Green, in the middle of the mayhem. And, of course, the player he put his hands on (or arms around his neck) was Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert. A guy who might be the most disrespected player of note in NBA history.
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For a player with so many accolades, Gobert is treated like just another scrub by many of his peers. No one’s saying he hasn’t done his part in earning their disses by not taking COVID seriously at the very beginning or crying about being snubbed for an All-Star selection in 2019.
We get that he was an idiot for touching the microphones and joking about what we knew very little about in March of 2020. A grown man crying over not being selected for the All-Star team is self-explanatory. That behavior will get you clowned in the NBA whether you like it or not. Gobert could just be an emotional guy, but that hasn’t won him much respect among his NBA peers.
Players around the league don’t like him and hold the Frenchmen in low regard. Forget what he’s accomplished being a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, six-time All-Defensive and four-time All-NBA selection. Gobert made the All-Star team three times since he shed so many tears over the snub almost five years ago.
Take a player like former No. 1 overall pick Kwame Brown. He was ridiculed to no end (up until the past couple of years) for being labeled a “bust” for not living up to expectations. During Brown’s 12-year NBA career, he became a journeyman who bounced around the association and became a laughingstock thanks to people like Stephen A. Smith. Someone who really has no room to clown anybody, but we’ll leave that for another day.
Some view Brown as the biggest bust in NBA history, but even he never got the treatment from other players that Gobert receives today. Brown’s peers may not have respected his game, but they weren’t putting their hands on him either. Many venomous words have been launched at Brown during and after his NBA career, but no fists were thrown nor forearms pressed against his throat.
The disrespect of Gobert is on a whole other level from anything we’ve seen in the NBA. There were players who liked Brown when he played. They just realized at a certain point he’d never live up to what people expect from a No. 1 overall pick. But these dudes in Gobert’s era don’t like him. They seem to think he’s soft, and Gobert hasn’t exactly proven anyone wrong. We’re not advocating violence, but self-defense is another thing.
Green has had it in for Gobert since he cried about not making the All-Star team years ago. Things may have been different had Gobert stood up for himself years earlier, and maybe he wouldn’t have been locked in an MMA hold at mid-court during this Warriors-Wolves In-Season Tournament game. But this may provide the juice needed to make the tourney more captivating. Other than the alternate courts, these feel like mid-November regular-season contests.
“It’s kind of funny because, before the game, I was telling myself Steph (Curry) is not playing, so I know Draymond is going to try to get ejected. Every time Steph doesn’t play, he doesn’t want to play without his guy Steph, so he’s doing anything to get ejected. It’s all good,” Gobert said after the game. “I do hope the league is going to do what needs to be done because that’s just clown behavior. There’s not much to say, it’s clown behavior.”
Gobert probably could have kept his comments after the game in his head. Green did go too far, although many will argue he was coming to the aid of teammate Klay Thompson, whom Gobert had his hands on in the scuffle. That was just the excuse Green needed to try out his new hold. Gobert should stick to playing basketball because we know he’ll continue to walk away and turn the other cheek whenever he’s disrespected. One thing about Green is he embraces and plays the villain role well. Something Gobert could probably learn from.