The elbow heard around the world issued by World Peace last week was one of the more hanus acts I’ve seen on the basketball court since Ron Artest’s Palace brawl. I understand he was excited because over the last month he’s finally started to play a little bit, but most guys don’t knock another player unconscious while they are celebrating.
James Harden the player who got hit did not entice World Peace. It looked to me like he was going to receive the ball from out of bounds. His attention was to the baseline and he was the only Thunder player looking to receive the ball. Even if he was getting in Peace’s way it wasn’t enough to cause an elbow like that.
World Peace was issued a seven game suspension which will essentially take him out of the first round of the playoffs. I don’t think this suspension fits the crime. Had World Peace done this on the streets it would have lead to an arrest. His largest suspension has been for 81 games, or one full season, which means this suspension should exceed that one.
I understand he is a fiery and emotional player but at some point you have to be able to contain yourself and learn from your mistakes. The NFL has a system in place that exponentially grows your suspension length each time you get in trouble, which should be the case in every league.
The NBA already struggles with its image which is why it implemented the dress code a few years ago, so after an incident like this latest one it is time for them to get stricter with their suspensions and fines. World Peace should be out for this year’s playoffs plus all of next year. It doesn’t matter whether or not this elbow was worse than the brawl. They were both incidents that involved violence on the basketball court and there should be a zero tolerance policy for such actions. A measly seven games will not teach World Peace any lesions and it won’t prevent him from actions like this in the future.
The NBA needs to decide what is more important at this point. Is it the players being happy with their decisions or is it cleaning up the game and league by giving out bold suspensions for acts that have no business being in the game. World Peace’s elbow was an emotional play, but if he can’t channel his emotions better in the future, and something like this happens again he shouldn’t be allowed to play again.