The NBA is like other sports in a lot of ways, but very different in one: the NBA is the pettiest league that has been or ever will be. By petty I mean excessive sub-tweeting, passive aggressive Instagram post-liking, and just doing Joel Embiid things. This column for the rest of the NBA season will keep you updated with the Good, the Bad, and the Petty of the NBA season. This is of course a shout out to the classic Clint Eastwood film: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
But don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say being petty is equivalent to being ugly. It is quite the opposite really, and the petty nature of the NBA is far and away the best quality about the league, only rivaled by Lebron James’ tomahawk slams and Rajon Rondo’s behind the back freeze-fake that for 13 years has baffled defenders to this day. So…let’s get into it!
The season may have just begun, but the Pelicans are looking good already. They beat the Houston Rockets, who were arguably the second best team in the league last year, by 19 points — a score that really does not give this beatdown credit. Anthony Davis looked like the leviathan freak we all knew he could become, posting a stat-line of 32-16-8-3-3 (p.t.s., rebounds, assists, blocks, steals), and he was helped along with now beardless Nikola Mirotic filling it up for 30-10-3. They followed up this dominant performance by absolutely manhandling the Kings 149-129, thanks to great performances from Davis and Mirotic again. If the Pelicans get that type of production from Davis every night and 75 percent of what Mirotic gave them, they are going to be a serious problem for the rest of the league this season.
Another good is Nikola Jokic (big week for the Nikolas). In Saturday’s game against the Suns, Jokic posted one of only two 30 point or more “perfect triple doubles” in NBA history. The only other one came from Wilt Chamberlain in the 1960s. A perfect triple double is when you post a triple double while not missing a single shot from the field. Jokic posted a statline of 35-12-12-4-1 on 11-11 shooting. That is unheard of. A great day for the big Serbian and Nuggets fans everywhere (including me, go nuggs).
Reggie Miller: Great player, one of the best three point shooters ever, and responsible for one of the most iconic in-game taunts ever… However, this man is the worst basketball commentator in the history of the sport. During the Lakers-Trail Blazers game on TNT he must have mentioned that the Lakers aren’t going to shoot many threes at least 40 times during the broadcast. It was horrendously annoying. The only part of that broadcast that was redeemable is the ever lovable Marv Albert. However, inside the NBA, the pregame/halftime/postgame show with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaq, and Charles Barkley is still awesome, so that’s good, too.
Finally we get to the good stuff. What an eventful past couple of weeks for the NBA! The crowned Prince of this week’s petty throne has to go to Jimmy Butler. The disgruntled Butler handed in his trade request to the Minnesota Timberwolves front office, citing his disagreements with the mindset of the team’s other two stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler was very adamant of the two’s “softness.” Wiggins’ brother then posted on his Instagram story praising the fact that Butler might finally be out of town with “hallelujah” accompanied by the praise hands emoji. Butler responded to this by posting a video of himself running up a hill to the camera and saying “hallelujah, keep that same energy.” Just a great day for the pettiest sport in the world.
This escalated even further that day when former NBA veteran Stephen Jackson decided to chime in, agreeing with Butler’s sentiment that Wiggins was soft. Wiggins responded to Jackson by talking even more trash. All of this on Instagram. All for the whole world to see.
A few weeks later, Butler, still yet to be traded from the team, came into the gym yelling at everyone in a practice before their first game of the season. Butler ran a 5v5 against the teams starters while playing with a team of third-stringers and absolutely destroyed the starters. While all of this on-court destruction was going on, Butler was yelling at the team’s coach and general manager Tom Thibodeau that “Y'all need me!” and “You can’t win without me!”
This was also leaked to the public. Butler dominated his own team on and off the court and for that reason, he’s the king of this week’s petty column. Congrats Jimmy, I know you are reading this.