I have experience with that sort of thing. Ball taps, I mean.
No, I didn’t ever hit someone else’s private parts while playing basketball. But during one game, the same player hit me three separate times in my baby-maker. Whenever I set a screen on this player (we’ll call him “Bob” for the purposes of this post), he’d punch me in my nads. Not a little love tap like KG gave Channing Frye. A full-on, Vladimir Klichko jab to my scrotum. In Remember the Titans, Coach Boone tried to teach his players that pain was nothing more than the French word for bread. But, I promise, pain is also getting smacked in your testicles three separate times during the same basketball game.
After the last ball tap, I’d had enough. I could have gone after Bob, but he was a 6’8″ monster who would have eaten me for lunch and had some leftovers for dessert. So I did what was only natural. In a completely quiet gym, I screamed at the top of my lungs to the ref, “Ref, Bob just hit me in my fucking nuts! And it’s the third time today!” My parents, watching the game from the stands, later told me they were embarrassed. The entire gym heard me scream about my “fucking nuts.” But if I have the choice between getting hit in the balls for a fourth straight time and swallowing a small part of my pride, I’m swallowing my pride eleven times out of ten.
So I know how Channing Frye felt. He felt like he wanted to injure someone, except — let’s face it, he’s Channing Frye – that wasn’t an option. So he went down like a sack of bricks, only to hop back up as if he intended to hurt someone. Again, that wasn’t Frye’s real intention — he’s Channing Frye. But he went through the motions, as if he were actually a dangerous human being.
Frye didn’t react with such spunk because he was hurt. The ball tap didn’t have much mustard on it, and — guys, I’m sure you’re with me on this — if KG had connected more viciously, there’s no way Frye would have popped up so fast; a clean ball tap leaves you down for at least a ten count. Frye reacted that way because he felt violated, because there are some things that not even softies like Channing Frye can allow to occur without retribution. So Frye acted like a tough guy, mostly to save face and partially because being ball tapped leaves a man with an inner fury that can’t be stopped.
As for KG, I’m not sure what he was thinking. Part of him was probably still upset with Mickael Pietrus, whose elbow had intentionally struck KG in the neck area just a few plays before the ball tap heard ’round the world. Part of him was probably just being the psychotic killer that gets released whenever KG competes. Part of him probably thought, “You know what, we’re getting pushed around by the Phoenix Suns tonight. I’m quite frustrated by this game. Why don’t I lightly remind Channing Frye’s genitals that I could really ruin his night if I wanted to?”
Afterward, Doc Rivers tried to downplay KG’s ball tap. (CSNNE)
“I thought Channing Frye was the instigator,” Rivers said. “Kevin didn’t jump in Channing’s face. I thought Channing Frye jumped in Kevin’s face. I don’t know how we get a throw-out on that.”
Umm, well, Doc? KG smacked Frye’s balls.
“If that did happen, it would only be like the 20th time it probably happened in the game,” Rivers said. “You see it all the time; guys poke at your stomach. Come on. If that’s what gets a guy upset, then they’re a really tough guy.”
No, Doc. You’re not getting it. He didn’t poke at Frye’s stomach. He smacked him in the balls.
Ahh, I think I understand. Rivers must have been offered Comcast’s G-rated explanation of what happened:
“Garnett was hit with a pair of technical fouls – one for arguing with Channing Frye after he fouled him, and the second for making contact near Frye’s waist,” wrote A. Sherrod Blakely.
I guess Blakely wasn’t technically lying. Contact was most definitely made near Frye’s waist. But this wasn’t just any contact near the waist, let’s get that straight. This was a testicle tap, clear as day.
And when you get hit in the balls, you react loudly and passionately. Even if you couldn’t hurt a fly with a baseball bat.
The ball tap isn’t all fun and games, of course. KG could potentially be suspended. Countless columns and blog posts will be written about how big an asshole KG was, or how he loves picking on weaklings. And Channing Frye might never be able to have Channing Junior.
Garnett was absolutely in the wrong, I’ll agree. He threw a cheap shot, and he did it in a quite sensitive spot. But the ball tap wasn’t a bad one, not at all, and it wasn’t too big a deal. Let’s all move on, shall we?