Monday, June 1, 2009

On Postgame Handshakes

Since LeBron's snub has suddenly become the argument of the moment, here is a snippet from a 2002 Newark Star-Ledger story, a reminder of what the league once was, and an indication, perhaps, that the venom toward player fraternization has changed completely*, given the LeBron backlash:

Knicks coach Herb Williams remembers a time in the NBA when coaches banned their players from helping an opponent off the floor.

"Pat Riley was the strictest," he said. "He didn't want you to talk. Period. And you better not help the other guy up. I know that rule went back to his days at L.A. The first time I saw it was Kareem helping up Danny Ainge, he pulled his hand away at the last minute because he remembered Riles' rule, and Ainge fell down."

*And not necessarily for the worse. But it would seem this is at the center of the argument about NBA officiating, as well: The notion that the game has somehow lost its edge.

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