There’s a beer commercial describing all the different ways to greet a friend.
We see NBA players before games slapping hands, hugging and going through all kinds of greeting rituals right before the tip-off.
But for some reason shaking hands after a long playoff series between two teams in the Western Conference Finals is a ‘no-no’ for one player.
Last night after the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference finals, Suns big man Amar’e Stoudemire refused to shake hands with the Laker players.
All the other players on the court could be seen hugging and passing along congratulations.
Amar’e was walking away, to the locker room. (Someone came up to him and started talking to him, I think it was Cedric Ceballos) This situation will not attract too much media attention because Amar’e is not as popular as a LeBron James or even Peyton Manning who didn’t shake hands after the New Orleans Saints beat his Colts in the Super Bowl.
Look, I understand displaying good sportsmanship after a game isn’t always easy. It can be tough to congratulate the opposing team after losing a playoff series, but I thought the NBA was a brotherhood? I thought these guys were a huge fraternity?
Shaking hands after a contest with the opponent; how do you as a coach, athletes or even fan think about it?
As an athlete, are you so ticked off after losing that you think walking to the locker room without shaking the opponents hands is the right thing to do?
As a coach, do you show professionalism by shaking your opponents hand after they have just sent your team home with a loss? Do you teach good sportsmanship to your athletes?
Besides James not shaking hands last year when his Cavaliers lost to the Magic, in 1991 the Detroit Pistons walked off the court with a few seconds still on the clock when they were ousted by the Chicago Bulls in the play-offs. Piston players walked off the court, passing right by the Bulls bench. (John Salley, who played for the Pistons at the time and a good dude, stayed on the floor and exchanged handshakes with the Bulls players)
Interesting debate on Twitter last night over Stoudemire’s reaction; one person thought that since Amar’e is an adult he is free to choose to do whatever he likes. I don’t agree with that theory; young kids are watching professional athletes, they try and emulate everything they do. So Amar’e refuses to shake hands, kids see it and think it’s ok to act that way.
There’s nothing wrong with shaking hands after a game; in hockey after a long-hard fought playoff series, players line up and shake hands. In football, after a physical game where we see players beat each other up for 60 minutes, they hug it out at midfield. And in boxing, one of the toughest sports in the world, two men who beat the crap out of each other for 12 rounds, come together and hug after the final bell.
We preach human compassion and ask ourselves ‘why we all can’t along’ in this world but after a basketball game we don’t want to shake hands with the opponent?
“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”
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