When I think of Kevin Garnett, impeccable post footwork, unselfishness, endangered basket stanchions, silky midrange jumpers, streams of unfiltered cuss words, bulging veins and occasionally misplaced (or, more likely, well-placed) elbows come to mind. When I think of Ryan Hollins, my mind skips immediately to rebounding, or rather a frustrating lack thereof, alley-oops, underrated pick-and-roll defense, and then I find myself wondering how he became close friends with Garnett and Paul Pierce, and at that point I need to stop thinking about Hollins because, well, why spend so much time thinking about Ryan Hollins?
My Hollins thoughts stop there — unless, of course, a Sports Illustrated poll comes out naming Hollins the NBA’s No. 11 dirtiest player, ahead of Dwight Howard, Jamaal Magloire, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and hundreds of others. Garnett took home the No. 2 spot, which seems far more fitting than Hollins’ Drew Bledsoe (No. 11). And now I’m stuck thinking about Hollins again because I’m a little confounded that he was voted one of the NBA’s dirtiest players.
He and KG do have at least one thing in common in regards to basketball dirtiness: They have both tangled with Charlie Villanueva. KG told Villanueva he is a cancer to his team and the NBA (or told him he looks like a cancer patient, depending on whom you’re asking). Hollins elbowed Villanueva on one possession, got struck below the belt by Villanueva during the ensuing possession, and ultimately fought Villanueva. After the on-court fight resulted in ejections for both parties, Villanueva charged toward the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room in search of Hollins, only to find that his seeking skills are not top-notch.
Hollins’ dirty play can further be checked out by Google-searching the term “Ryan Hollins suspension.” One of the results returns an article describing a two-game Hollins suspension which occurred in March of 2010. Hollins reportedly punched DeShawn Stevenson while boxing him out during a free throw, then struck Dirk Nowitzki with an elbow later in the game. I say “reportedly” only because A) I don’t remember the incident at all, B) I cannot find any YouTube evidence of the incident, and C) Hollins being described as “boxing out” brings up many red flags regarding the report’s veracity.
Just in case you thought Hollins agreed with his ranking among the NBA’s dirtiest folk, he was quoted in 2010 as saying he’s “not a dirty player or anything like that.” Which would settle things once and for all, except that to be asked that question in the first place, someone, somewhere must have suspected him of being dirty. Nobody would ask Steve Novak if he’s a dirty player, for example, but they might ask Kendrick Perkins the same question.
Which brings me back to my former state, thinking about Ryan Hollins more than I should. I suppose I should end this now, which I will, or else a headache will ensue and nobody wants that.