Two major incidents of violence in the National Basketball Association this season illustrate the extremes of the game's basic styles of play - the city game and the rural game.
In both cases, city-type players - Kareem, Abdul-Jabbar and Krmit Washington - were fighting rural-style players - Kent Benson and Kevin Kunnert. Abdul-Jabbar broke his hand in decking Benson and Washington seriously injured Rudy Tomjanovich with a punch.
Kunnert and Benson are exponents of the rural style, a game that accepts pushing, holding and elbowing as part of the contest and does not consider such conduct an invitation to fight.
Abdul-Jabbar and Washington are city playground players. Theirs is a finesse game. When muscle stuff becomes excessive, the finesse player takes offense.
Benson elbowed Abdul-Jabbar in the stomach for no apparent reason. Abdul-Jabber countered by punching Benson in the face.
In the other incident, Kunnert was holding Washington and Washington didn't like it. They eventually squared off and Tomjanovich was punched by Washington when he approach to intervene.
"I've played against guys who all they do is lean and push and you get sick of it quickly," said Philadelphia's Darryl Dawkins. "I just want to pop them in the head after awhile."
Golden State assistant coach Joe Roberts says that "it's detracting from finesse player's talent when he is always getting bumped and he hasn't learned to bump back. He gets frustrated and fights start.
"I don't want to mention any names, but you know there are some people in this league who can't play," Roberts added. "All they can do is bump, and that's not right."