Anthony Gets Ejected: Needs to Keep Physicality In Check

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Getty Images / Nathaniel Butler

Omar Rashad, Sports Editor

Thabo Sefolosha is apparently a really good defender, and Carmelo Anthony made sure all NBA fans knew that when he hit Sefolosha in the face Wednesday night. The New York Knicks faced the Atlanta Hawks for a seat riveting game, going into a competitive overtime period to decide a victor. The Hawks pulled away in the end with a score of 102 to 98.

It was a good day for excited Hawks’ fans who filled in Philips Arena, but they were taken aback by Carmelo Anthony’s impulsive actions and responded with cordial boos. Quite honestly, you can’t blame them either. When I saw the clip of Anthony’s impulsive swing at Sefolosha’s face, I wasn’t all too happy.

The altercation occurred right after Justin Holiday pulled up for a three-pointer. Sefolosha and Anthony began boxing each other out, next to the rim, both trying to position themselves better in order to get a rebound. It was when Anthony began pushing Sefolosha in his upper chest that things began to get out of hand, because when Sefolosha pushed back, it made Anthony shove him harder. This caused Anthony’s hands to slide up, looking as if he was trying to take a swing at Sefolosha. Whether it was intentional or just an unfortunate series of incidents, Anthony ended up pushing his wrist into Sefolosha’s neck and hit him in the face.

A livid Sefolosha said afterwards “He threw a punch. A fist right to my face. It’s whatever. The referee — I’m glad they looked back at it — they made the right call” (The Associated Press).

The officials didn’t take kindly to Anthony’s actions. After the altercation, Anthony pursued Sefolosha and got into his face. As both players exchanged words, referees had to separate the two. They handed Sefolosha a technical foul for verbally abusing Anthony. Anthony, however, got the brunt of the punishment because of his physicality on the play and further pursuing Sefolosha, as he was handed a Flagrant 2 Foul, ejecting him from the game.

In his 13th year in the NBA, Anthony is practically a veteran. He knows better than to be overly rough against good, solid defense coming from Sefolosha, a guy who’s just as tall, built, and young as he is himself. Anthony, being a veteran should also know how to not get provoked so easily, and to match great defense with great offense, and vice versa. He knows the game, and he knows how to play it, and it’s not by pushing and hitting, or throwing that extra shove. It’s by jumping that extra inch for that rebound, diving that extra time to get possession of the ball, and pumping down the court that extra time to get back on defense.

Like I always say, the game of basketball should stay the game of basketball. Intimidation and unnecessary physicality is not the game, and you don’t have to play in the NBA to know that. Carmelo Anthony is a prominent NBA figure and he should know what his actions portray. Unfortunately, after the game, Anthony refused to make a comment or offer any apology.

It’s plays like these where athletes make hasty actions, but it’s their job, as professional players, to put that past themselves, admit to their mistake, and grow as a better player and better person. Let’s hope Carmelo Anthony can do just that.

For more on athletes and the decisions they make, keep reading the Athlete’s Dilemma.