It's been a few days since Game 1 of the Mavs/Hornets first round playoff series, and I'm sick of the so-called sports experts on TNT, ESPN, etc saying that Dirk demonstrated a lack of toughness when he "just stood there" and let David West slap him in the face.
To the moron's claiming Dirk demonstrated a lack of toughness by not "doing something about it" and just "taking it" (I'm taking to you, Kenny Smith, Jim Rome, Charles Barkley, and countless others), I wonder what exactly Dirk was supposed to do?
THIS VIDEO demonstrates just how ridiculous some of these NBA analysts are. If Dirk did "pimp slap him witta backhand" as this WANNABE GHETTO-FABULOUS TAG-ALONG from the Showtime Lakers says Dirk should have, it would have been a suspension, which this dumbass even eludes to! Michael Cooper - the commentator - says Dirk should have "pimp-slapped him and pimp-slapped him hard" despite the fact that it would have probably caused, as he points out, "a game mob." How does Dirk starting a fight between these two teams help the Mavs? How is that showing toughness at all? Michael Cooper, you are a moron. I hope someone "pimp-slaps you witta backhand" in the hopes they knock some sense into you!
Quick question: Who is more valuable to their team: Dirk Nowitzki or David West?
Answer: Dirk Nowitzki -- by a long shot
So if Dirk "gets tough" and shoves West back, or swats his hand out of the way, or punches him in the face, or spits on him, or whatever else these bone-headed pundits think he should have done, Dirk would have been suspended for at least the second game of the series - perhaps even more. Do yall remember what Dallas looked like when Dirk was injured for a few games? It wasn't pretty. What about when he was suspended for one game earlier in the year for a hard foul on Utah's Andre Kirilenko? Dallas got stomped the next night by the Houston Rockets.
Without Dirk, the Mavs are not in the playoffs. And if he's suspended, Dallas might as well not even take the court because they won't win, and it won't be close.
So if Dirk had gone Kermit Washington on David West and flattened him to the deck -- which would have been pretty cool -- then he would have been easily tossed, definitely costing Dallas game 2, and most likely costing them the series.
In the 2006 conference semi-finals, Jason Terry received a one-game suspension for punching Michael Finley during game 5 in San Antonio. The result: Terry missed game 6, and San Antonio beat the Mavericks in Dallas to force game 7 at AT&T Center (if not for Ginobili's foul on Dirk to force game 7 into overtime, Terry is the goat for taking a stupid suspension and blowing Dallas' chance to win the series at home in game 6).
But if Dirk did stand up for himself and demonstrate this so-called toughness by turning West into Rudy Tomjanovich, people wouldn't be calling him tough. They'd call him a cheap-shot punching goon who should be suspended for not only the rest of the (what would become a very short) post-season, but probably a few games into the 2008-09 campaign.
Dirk not slugging West was the smart thing to do. Keep your cool. Keep your composure. Keep yourself eligible to play in the series. The Mavs lost a game to the Lakers this year when Josh Howard took a stupid technical foul by throwing off his headband. The Lakers won by four, and the technical foul shot cost Dallas a chance for a tying 3-point attempt at the game's end. Why would Dirk want to make a similar mistake now when the playoffs are underway? It makes no sense.
If anything, the referees blew it by not giving West a technical foul for tapping Dirk's face. West needs to realize that Dirk is currently one of the game's greatest players. West is a footnote next to an MVP-candidate. Let's not confuse the two. Dirk is the reigning NBA MVP. West isn't the best player on his own team.
We'll find out in game two with Dirk's performance if he truly is "responding" to the incident by how tough he plays. Until that time, get off this kick that he should have done something about it. By walking away, he is giving his team the best chance to win -- as a true leader should do.