If you don't know by now, Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) gave a huge elbow to the head of James Harden.
This is not exactly the easiest piece to write for me and I am not exactly in the most enviable position to write about this. Daniel Artest, MWP's brother, writes for this site. People also know I'm a Laker fan (and I also write for Forum Blue And Gold, ESPN's Laker TrueHoop blog). But if you have read my stuff and talked to me on Twitter in the past, you know that I try to be as fair as possible.
Ron (yes, I still call him Ron) is a very excitable guy. He's a good guy and we all know that he gets crazy, too (probably the understatement of the year). And I think that he really doesn't mean to hurt anybody. He has worked so hard to rehabilitate his image over the past couple of years and it's conceivable that this could go down the drain because of this event. It didn't help that he went into a fighting stance when Serge Ibaka went up to him after that elbow swing.
Maybe this is a copout answer and I don't care if it is to you readers... but it's pretty much impossible to tell if it is accidental or intentional (as in an intent to hurt somebody). And I will lean towards accidental because I know Ron has a good heart and don't think he's really a person filled with malice. I don't know what goes through Ron's head and, quite frankly, none of us are mindreaders so y'all can't tell what goes through his head, either. Yes, I'm aware of his history and the Malice In The Palace but he knew full well that was a mistake and he regrets it to this day.
I've gotten so many opinions out of this. Some say it's intentional. Some say it's accidental. And my opinion for leaning towards the latter? I'm just one voice and it doesn't change the fact that Ron STILL elbowed someone and that poor James Harden has a concussion that will linger for a while. Ron will be suspended and deserves to be suspended. Harden will be out for a few games because of this.
The evidence that will be used towards intentional is the way he cocked back his elbow and swung fully. But, again, Ron gets so emotional. He may have gotten completely lost in the moment. I mean, it's not often Ron Artest dunks three times in a game (coupled with the fact that they had just cut the lead down to 1 against a powerful Oklahoma City Thunder squad). Other weak arguments could be that maybe Ron wanted to nudge Harden out of the way by pushing his body but he swung too high and Ron's elbow hit Harden in the head instead. Harden did make body contact with Ron previous to the elbow. Ron never did see Harden there but he felt the body contact.
And this isn't exactly the same but it's not like as if Ron is the only one that gets lost in the moment while celebrating. NBA Finals 2010...
Again, I am in no way saying that this is the same as the MWP elbow on Harden. I'm just saying that people do get lost in the moment of celebration. (Yes, I am very aware that this involved a Celtics player.)
Now how long should Ron get suspended? When Kevin Love stomped on Luis Scola, he got two games. When Derek Fisher nailed Scola in the 2009 playoffs (with malice!), he got one game. When Andrew Bynum took J.J. Barea out of the air last year, he got five games (reduced to four because of the compressed season). Dwight Howard got suspended for one game for swinging his elbow at Samuel Dalembert in the 2009 playoffs (that same elbow swing knocked Courtney Lee out for nearly two weeks).
If we're going to base it off all of this, then three games suddenly sounds reasonable. Of course, this is Ron we're talking about so he may get a longer suspension because of his reputation, fair or not. I honestly have no issue with five games. But it won't surprise me if they decide to suspend Ron for the remainder of the season, including playoffs.
Basing it on how long Harden will be out sounds fair, too. And right now, we don't know exactly how long that would be. Injuries to the head are nothing to mess with.
At least, Ron seemed apologetic after that event. All we can do now is wait for the punishment on him... and wait for the results on Harden's concussion. And, hopefully, we can all move on from this sooner than later so we can talk basketball.
Speedy recovery, Mr. Harden.
PHOTO CREDIT: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images.
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