In Miami's last stretch of games leading to the post-season, I've noticed something off with my boy Big Z, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, he's been fiery under the collar. The normally quiet, Lithuanian, "soft" center, known for reading military fiction novels in the locker room, has inexplicably morphed into an enforcer type player. After an errant elbow against the Wizards, Z got into an admittedly hilarious scuffle with the 15 years his younger, 11 inches his shorter John Wall.
About a week later he was at it again; getting fired up and pegging an opposing player in the back with a basketball, dodge-ball style
What makes fights and scuffles so interesting in the NBA is the relatively more intimate nature of the sport for TV viewers. No faces are obscured by helmets or hats and cameras are able to move in close on the hardwood. NBA is also a game of superstars and personalities. As much as it advertised as a team sport, a single player such as Lebron, Wade, Kobe or D-Rose can take complete control of a game in the final minutes or any span for that matter. Being a limited-contact sport, fights happen infrequently. When a fight does breaks out though, one can see the emotion, anger and sometimes the attempted restraint of those emotions by the participants. Hockey fights on the other hand , which happen statistically almost every other game, boil down to two helmeted and padded thugs attempting to knock out whatever teeth the other has left. They happen so often that fans, while still excited for the spectacle, become desensitized to the violence.
If anyone remembers "The Malice at the Palace", sometimes basketball fights can get a bit too personal.
This fan is basically wearing the default facial expression anyone would have while in line of fire of a charging Ron Artest.