There are a lot of dumb things that happen in the NBA, which is a big part of the reason I have the job that I do. However, my least favorite of all the dumb things that happen on a regular basis is the seemingly endless stream of players calling each other “fake tough guys” when someone gets in someone else’s face. This is usually followed by something along the lines of “If we were on the playground, he wouldn’t act like this,” which is also very stupid. Brendan Haywood knows what I’m talking about.
Literally every player in the NBA — excluding Metta World Peace, Stephen Jackson and maybe two other people I am forgetting — is a “fake tough guy,” if the definition of that is “won’t actually fight you on the court.” No duh they won’t. Fighting costs money and no one wants to just throw away their cash. Ergo, calling someone a “fake tough guy” is pointless, unless the player saying that is also saying they’d actually fight at any opportunity. Which they’re not, which is why it’s dumb. (THANKS FOR THE SOAPBOX FOR THE DUMBEST POINT EVER, WHICH MADE ME SIDE WITH BRENDAN HAYWOOD. UGH. MOVING ON.)
That’s why it’s so refreshing to see Dwyane Wade changing things up while zinging Danny Granger and his tough guy act. From ESPN:
“I’m all for standing up for your guys but certain things you just can’t keep doing,” Wade said. “My message to Granger was that you just can’t keep running up into people’s faces for altercations. We’re not fighting on this basketball court so let’s not act like we’re going to fight. We can be physical and do all that but certain things got to stop. Are you out here to play basketball or are you out here to be a tough guy?”
Yes. Exactly right, Dwyane Wade. Calling someone a “fake tough guy” is pointless, so instead just mention that everyone is a basketball player and therefore won’t actually fight, and do so with disdain that reads like you are rolling your eyes as far back in to your skull as is humanly possible. This is the logical argument that Socrates would make if he were a basketball player (solid screen-setter, decent handle, thinks too much on the court, always sweaty).
Rather than puffing out his chest and acting like he’d beat up Danny Granger if he tried something on the court, Dwyane Wade just dismisses things with a “Come on, Danny Granger. Relax.” I love it. So does Brandon Jennings.
No one’s fighting on the court, even if Dwyane Wade is tackling players, so why act like it? There’s a difference between playing tough and just being annoying. Like Wade says, standing up for your guys is cool. But trying to fight everyone, while great TV, gets old quick if you never actually do anything about it.
If Danny Granger ever does anything besides pretending like he wants to fight, perhaps I’ll reconsider my stance. As it stands, Granger could end up meeting Kendrick Perkins in an ultimate posture-off where both guys’ faces touch for 10 solid minutes and not a single punch is thrown. No thanks. I prefer someone admitting that they’re not going to fight, even if it’s not the “tough guy” thing to do.