It's been a long time since I've succumbed to the desire to engage in sports hate, but I feel a good case of it coming on for the Dallas Mavericks' Zaza Pachulia.
First, a definition of terms: there's hatred, which is detrimental for both the subject and the object -- and there's sports hatred, which is harmless. Real hatred burns in your heart and is directed toward a person. Sports hate is just emotion that is aimed toward the image of a sports personality and never acted upon. I've touched on the subject before, but it was quite a while back.
The bottom line is that I do not hold any ill will toward Mr. Zaza Pachulia, citizen of Turkey, but I am growing to despise the player that wears #27 for the Dallas Mavericks. And from watching the plays below, it shouldn't be hard to see why:
There's just no reason to hold on to someone's arm like that and twist around unless you're trying to injure them. And watching a player swing their elbows like that around the face of a Spurs can't help but remind me of Karl Malone knocking out David Robinson. There was no call when he went to the floor against Kawhi Leonard, but Pachulia got a technical foul for throwing bows at David West's chin.
But those weren't the only questionable plays from my new nemesis.
It got to the point where I was seeing evil intent in even marginal plays that weren't overtly dangerous.
Finally, #27 was nearly fouled as he scored and reacted so strongly to the non-call that he got his second technical and was ejected.
And so San Antonio was able to avoid losing a key player to injury for the second game in a row (consummate pro and decade-long-Spur, Matt Bonner, did strain his left calf.) But as I continue to review the Mavs game, I can't help but watch Zaza's plays again.
And I can feel the sports hate grow...