We have to follow a clear rule for what makes a play or player dirty, and it’s not what you think. Steph Curry felt the wrath of a hard play that grabbed our emotions and left a scar with a recovery timeline heading into playoffs. Now, has he given his two cents on the topic but has he missed the point?
Because Marcus Smart mirrored a Dave Cowens dive that helped win the Celtics a Finals, and never heard a word. But where is the line for basing our current day principles of toughness/dirtiness and the hardnosed early 70’s ball we left in the past?
Steph has backup.
The babyface of the league was quite adamant about how he felt about the energy going Smart’s way over the last week.
The play that may have cost a championship run, depending on immediate recovery.
There could be a thousand vids of Green making those same plays in memorable moments or even go right for the balls. But they only become memorable when a player is hurt, I guess.
Where is the line?
The game of life and sports are entirely different animals. A sports game is directed by rules. These rules then prompt your behavior. Outside the confines of sport, your behavior is governed by morals. It sounds like I’m just naming twin rocks for the fun of it, right? But there is a distinct difference.
In sports, the rules are flexible. Not all referees enforce the game the same way. We should all be able to agree that roughing your opponents up for the purpose of ratling and distracting them is okay. But doing that to inflict pain on them - isn’t. The definition of a dirty player lies within this distinction of intentions.
Does the type of play Smart made help teams win games? This play by Dave Cowens could have injured Oscar Robertson but he made it anyway. Although they lost that game (partly due to Kareem’s brilliance), that no fear energy led the C’s to win that ’74 series in six games and secure the championship.
The Marcus Smart play was the type of clip that emotionally jolts you up from your seat. But the replay and followed-up analysis push you to side with Steph. It should make sense that we don’t compare what’s dirty through different eras because each decade was officiated entirely differently. So it took a little more for a player to be labeled as dirty back then.
But even though the rules bend, so do the confines. Smart never intended to hurt Curry - at least to the best of my knowledge. It does get a little fisher when we’re looking at a Patrick Beverley incident. But that’s a different topic. Don’t let immediate outrage from players, coaches, or even the top commenters, tell you what is dirty.