Remember that time Udonis Haslem two-hand punched Tyler Hansbrough in the face because Hansbrough had just flagrantly fouled Dwyane Wade, only Udonis Haslem was like “No way it’s because of that?” I’m sure you do. It happened less than a week ago, even though it feels like For Emma, Forever Ago.
Just for a fun trip down memory lane, here’s what Udonis had to say at the time. From Fox Sports Florida:
While Haslem also wasn’t available after his suspension was announced, he did continue to insist earlier in the day he was not retaliating on Hansbrough because he had knocked Wade to the floor.
“If I was going to retaliate, I would have hit (Lou) Amundson,” said Haslem, who had been hit with an elbow above the right eye by the Pacers forward in Game 4, a wound that needed nine stitches to close. “He did this. So why not hit him? That’s retaliation. You hit the person that hits you. So if I was to retaliate, it would have been Amundson. He did this to me. It had nothing to with retaliation.”
Do you believe that? Yeah, me neither.
Here’s the proof, from the lips of the Haslem over the weekend. From the Miami Herald:
Now the truth can be told, thanks to the freedom and relief that comes with winning. Hell, yes, Udonis Haslem meant to foul Tyler Hansbrough like that. Would do it again, too, if given the chance. He revealed as much after practice Saturday, stitches still on his face, right eye still dark red with blood. [...]
“I can’t imagine anything I wouldn’t do for Dwyane,” he says. [...]
Haslem’s thought as Wade landed at his feet?
“OK,” he says. “That’s how it is going to be tonight? OK. Let’s do that then.”
Well duh, of course he tried to smack some sense in to Tyler Hansbrough. That was pretty obvious at the time and it’s extra obvious now that he’s admitting he was trying to get revenge “out of love.” It’s so romantic, an angry teammate trying to avenge his close friend by hacking the face off of an opponent.
Convenient of him to admit this now, of course, after he’s been punished. Not that anyone bought that the foul was anything other than retaliation, but you have to wonder if straight-up acknowledging that you were trying to get even would draw a bigger fine or a longer addition. I don’t know if the NBA honors double jeopardy, but it’s surely a wise move to cop to retaliating after you’ve been suspended.
Plus, and I have to imagine this factored in to Haslem’s thinking, it’s also a lot safer to wait until you don’t have to face the guy you smacked in the face to admit you smacked him in the face on purpose. Now Tyler Hansbrough has to wait for months and months before he can get in his retaliatory karate chop. By then, he might not even care Haslem super punched him. Not likely, but at least Udonis has some extra time to practice his dodging skills.