Raja Bell

Back in the day, the Valley's pro athletes were, well, human. Every month or so, one of them would drive drunk, or very fast, or kick someone's ass, or pinch someone's ass, or stalk their ex, or get caught with some dope, or blow, or say something racist, or sexist, or profoundly stupid, or knock somebody up who wasn't their wife, then be late on paternity checks, then hit their wife, then violate the restraining order, then get back together with the wife who then shows up at every friggin' playoff game with their child so the cameras can adore them ad nauseam, then . . . oh, you get the point. But with all this "character counts" crap invading local locker rooms, every one of our stars is starting to act like Luis Gonzalez. All right, already. We get it. You're a family man. Without any real sin or criminality, we have to go with the best violation of the rule book. This honor goes, hands down, or, hands on, to Raja Bell, who, at the precise moment in Game 5 that everyone in Phoenix wanted to do the same thing, leveled the Little Lord Fauntleroy of the court, Kobe Bryant, with a hit so flagrant, so beautifully premeditated, that it seemed to wash away the decades of Phoenix subjugation at the hands of the hack-happy ref darlings from Hollywood. Of course, beating both the Lakers and the Clippers in seven games also helped wash away that pain. Now, though, we obviously need such a hit next year in the conference finals, then the NBA Finals. Amar? Welcome back. Now hack some Shaq.


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