Nenad Krstic was involved in a basketball brawl yesterday during the final moments of a Greece-Serbia which served as the final of the Acropolis tournament in Greece.
The following analysis comes from this video:
The frustration started between two players; Antonis Fotsis, Captain of the Greek team, and Milos Teodosic, the highest scorer on the Serbian team. After Fotsis missed a three, he started shouting at Teodosic. It quickly turned into a shoving match where players from both teams and a ref were trying to hold Fotsis and Teodosic from each other. They were successful.
But, unbeknown to them, another fight was starting at the other end of the court, this time between our own Nenad Krstic and Greek big man Soforkis Schortanitis. And he is, well, known for being the huge black guy on a team of white guys. They were successfully separated.
But then, back near the site of the original fight, Kostas Tsartsaris of Greece and a player I cannot identify (Number 16) start brawling. They are separated, but then out of the corner of the crowd, Kostas Kaimakoglou of Greece tackles Number 16. At this point, a bunch of players crowd in near the site of the tackle, one of the foremost of them being Schortanitis. While Schortanitis is bent down and attempting beat up number 16 of Serbia, Nenad Krstic starts beating on the back of Schortanitis. Schortanitis then gets up and turns his attention to Krstic.
Below: Fight Recap Continued, More Video, Aftermath, Soapbox Speech.
Krstic is now backing up while Schortanitis is chasing him across the court. A Greek benchwarmer and coach are in front of Schortanitis, attempting to stop him from attacking Krstic. They eventually make their way to a table near the corner of the court, and a mob has gotten in-between the two. Nenad Krstic and Soforkis Schortanitis continued to look at each other angrily, and Krstic, at that point, picked up a chair. It's hard to tell whether he threw it or if it fell out of his hands, but after flaying a short distance it hit a Greek coach and possibly a Serbian player. Krstic was then pushed off of the floor by a teammate.
This video shows that the Greek coach got a deep gash on his skull after the fight, and had to be held back by several players from attacking Krstic. It also shows a half-naked Greek fan near some Serbian players after the fact, but it is unclear whether he was attacking Krstic as he held a chair. Serbian players were pelted with trash as they left the court.
This video clearly shows the Greek fans approaching Krstic and the Serbian team telling them to stay away, but after Krstic picked up the chair.
ESPN reports that Krstic spent the night in police custody and that the Serbian coach (Duskan Ivankovic) claimed that, "I believe he acted in self-defense and grabbed a chair after some half-naked [Greek] fans rushed into the court."
FIBA has stated that they, "will take whatever steps are necessary against any individual player found to have been involved in this shocking incident."
No word yet on if the Thunder will take any action.
It's really, really hard to tell what Krstic raised the chair for. He seemed to be just backing away from Schortanitis, so it seems illogical for him to raise a chair on the guy all of a sudden, unless Krstic understood some sort of Greek insult Schortanitis may have had about his mother. It's also unclear when and where the shirtless Greek fans entered the fray. It's clear that there is one or two buzzing around Krstic post-chair throw, but he doesn't seem to be intimidated or worried by them, and it's mostly the team that works to clear the Greeks out. My best guess would be that Krstic did raise the chair towards Schortanitis, because the chair does flies in his direction, because Krstic was probably looking at him, and because it appears that Krstic's arms were moving forward. (If this were the NFL, it would be an incomplete pass, rather than a fumble.)
But, do I care that this fight happened, or even that Krstic threw the chair? No. Anyone and everyone takes the moral high ground in situations like this, but I know that fighting is human. This fight didn't occur between a bunch of punks or because there's some sort of moral problem with basketball today, it occurred because it was a tight game, and players are human. That's right, they're human. Sometimes people's emotions get the best of them. It's regrettable that the fight wasn't broken up more quickly, and that some did get hurt. But, fights happen. They occur in Hockey all of the time, and are encouraged. Hell, many people tune in to see people beat each other into pulps, whether it be through WWE, UFC, Boxing, or whatever suits your fancy. While that isn't my type of thing, I don't think people should be condemned for this fight, or for the Pacers-Pistons brawl, or for the Knicks-Nuggets brawl, or for any brawl that occurs during a basketball game. Sure, the NBA/International Basketball should fine and suspend the responsible parties. I completely agree with that. But when Krstic comes back next season to play for the Thunder, he shouldn't be called a punk or be booed for his actions. He's a human, and humans make mistakes. I, for one, will welcome him back with open arms.
Okay, okay, I'll get off of my soapbox.
But, in practical terms, this could help Team USA's chances, as it might deplete Serbia and Greece, two medal contenders, in the upcoming World Basketball Championships.
Have something to say about the brawl? What actions should be taken towards the Serbian and Greek teams? Towards Krstic when the comes back to the Thunder? Drop a comment, vote in the poll!