Kevin Love continues his checked-out tour

Originally posted on RealGM  |  By Colin McGowan  |  Last updated 4/27/21

It’s hard sometimes to figure out what people are so upset about. I’m thinking of Ricky Davis in the spring of 2003, kissing the ball off the underside of his own basket and retrieving the attempt. This was in the dying moments of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 12th win of the season. With that blowout victory over the Utah Jazz, they snapped a seven-game losing streak and brought their overall record to 12-and-53. It was one of their most impressive performances of the year, though it did nothing to impede their descent toward the darkest sub-basement of the league standings, accruing as many lottery balls as possible and drafting LeBron James with the first overall pick the following summer. Davis, in the midst of his best statistical season as a pro, forming the silhouette of a star shooting guard if you checked the box score without watching the game, was one rebound short of a triple-double and with six seconds left tried to fudge the numbers. For his trouble, he got hacked by a bewildered DeShawn Stevenson. The refs conferred and the scorer didn’t count the board. As the teams walked off the floor, Jerry Sloan asked Bennett Salvatore something to the effect of shouldn’t that have been a tech?

Sloan had more to say in the postgame presser. “[Ricky] shot at his own basket,” he explained to reporters. “And he was trying to embarrass somebody by doing that. DeShawn fouled him. I would’ve fouled him too; I’da knocked him on his a**.” DeShawn (0-for-4, one assist and one turnover) agreed with his coach: “there’s too many people who have done too much for this sport to act like that.”

David Aldridge, in an op-ed for ESPN, called for Davis to be suspended: “it is Davis who needs to be shown that there are lines that just can’t be crossed once you cross the lines and go onto the floor. Not because he’s a bad kid, but because he’s a young one, and he needs somebody to show him, by barring him from playing, what a terrible thing he did.” The apparently Davis-tarnished legacies of Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Magic Johnson were invoked. Indeed, the discourse came down heavy on the 23-year-old gunner, as if he were scandalizing the youth and subverting the markets, rather than trying to pad his stats in front of a reported crowd of 11,578, most of whom were probably in the parking garage or already on their way home, because it was a 25-point game. The Jazz, apparently able to swiftly recover from the trauma of the event, won their next six, and went on to get destroyed by the Sacramento Kings in the opening round of the playoffs.

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