“Winners Master The Moment; Losers Allow The Moment To Master Them.”
Last Sunday Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum allowed the moment to master him as he allowed frustration to cloud his judgement which then prompted him to commit a rather despicable act. The Lakers were not only on the verge of being swept in the second round of the Playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks they were being flat-out humiliated trailing their opponents by 32 points late in the contest.
With 8:21 left in the game Bynum decided that Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea was going to be the recipient of the Los Angeles big man’s anger. As Barea drove the lane attempting to put the ball up and through the cylinder Bynum hit him in the ribs with his right elbow sending the six-foot guard crashing to the floor like a rag-doll. Bynum was charged with a Flagrant Foul 2 and was immediately tossed from the game. Bynum showing disrespect to the game officials stripped off his game jersey before leaving the floor.
Bynum’s actions and subsequent reactions were low-class and totally uncalled for. It was something you expect to see on the playgrounds not in an NBA arena on a Nationally Televised Playoff game. The size differential between the two players was also a major factor in how it was perceived by the Association as well as the fans. Bynum is more than a foot taller than Barea which truly made him appear to be a callous bully.
Tuesday the “Los Angeles Times” and “ESPN.com” reported that the Lakers center issued a public apology to the Mavericks guard through the media. Bynum said to reporters “My actions … don’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Lakers fans out there that want to watch us and want us to succeed. Furthermore, and more importantly, I want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I’m just glad that he wasn’t seriously injured in the event and all I can say is, I’ve looked at (the replay), it’s terrible and it definitely won’t be happening again. I saw it. I went in and I watched it, it was terrible. The whole sequence, taking off of the shirt and everything. Sometimes you just have to man up and own it. That’s what happened and it’s unacceptable. … It looks bad. It just looks bad.”
Bynum has taken the first step in redeeming his reputation by owning up to his mistakes. The big man can expect to be hit with a hefty fine and suspension by NBA Commissioner David Stern for the incident and deserves to be punished in such a manner. There is absolutely no excuse for an NBA player’s competitive nature to get so out of hand that he allows his emotions to run rampant. Careers can easily be ended that way through injury and the aggressor would have to live with that stigma of hurting one of his peers for the rest of their days.