Kobe Bryant sprained his left ankle severely Wednesday night, an injury may have dire implications for the Los Angeles Lakers, who have fought their way up to the eighth seed in the Western Conference. But, in the immediate aftermath of the play, Bryant was steamed because of what he said was a “dirty and dangerous” play by the Atlanta Hawks’ Dahntay Jones.
Bryant was hurt when he landed on Jones’s foot as he attempted a shot that would have tied the score late in the Lakers’ 96-92 loss to the Hawks. Afterward, Bryant emailed Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarnowski to say that Jones “threw his hip and lower body into mine on the shot. That’s a foul with 100 percent certainty. Dirty and dangerous play. Doesn’t belong in the game.”
X-rays of Bryant’s ankle were negative and he’s listed as “out indefinitely,” with the Lakers playing the Indiana Pacers next on Friday night.
After the game, Bryant told reporters that Jones “Jalen Rose’d me,” a reference to a similar play on which he sprained his ankle in the 2000 NBA Finals.
#dangerousplay that should have been called. Period.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 14, 2013
X-rays of his ankle were negative, but the Lakers said Bryant would be out indefinitely. Jones argued that his play wasn’t dirty at all.
Tape doesn’t lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man — Dahntay (@dahntay1) March 14, 2013
Leg kick that makes contact with a defensive player is an offense foul. Period. The nba changed that rule 2 yrs ago. Stop it! — Dahntay (@dahntay1) March 14, 2013
This isn’t the first time Bryant and Jones have tangled. When Jones was playing for the Denver Nuggets, he was called for two flagrant fouls against Bryant in the 2009 Western Conference finals.
Now what happened in 09′ I am not proud of but it was a heated playoff series with a championship on the line
— Dahntay (@dahntay1) March 14, 2013
With that kind of history, this isn’t going away. “I can’t get my mind past the fact that I’ve got to wait a year to get revenge,” Bryant said.
In the interim, there’s a vigorous debate about the play.
“First and foremost, I think the officials really need to protect shooters,” Bryant said. “Defensive players, you can contest shots, but you can’t walk underneath players. It’s just a very, very dangerous play, especially if I’m fading away. There’s no rhyme or reason why I should come down anywhere near somebody’s foot.”
Does he have a fair point?