Former Hawks and Suns forward Josh Childress, who spurned an NBA contract to sign a $20 million contract in July of 2008 to play in Greece, is now playing for the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia. During a game against the Perth Wildcats, Childress unloaded a crazy airborne elbow on Jesse Wagstaff and was ejected.
This would be a hefty fine and probably multi-game suspension it if went down in a contemporary NBA game. It seems Wagstaff, a former Metropolitan State University of Denver college player, had been getting on Childress’ nerves during the game — particularly in the moments prceeding the elbow when he leveled him with a screen. Childress then took an opening to smack him with an elbow when he was most prone.
This is more brutal than even the late 1980s Pistons team in their heyday of bruising play, though we wouldn’t put this sort of elbow violence past Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer.
While Childress took a bit of a cheap shot at Wagstaff, this
could be the norm for NBL play; some of the toughest guys we’ve ever known hail from Australia, so it’s not unfathomable it’s a more rough and tumble style than the current NBA game in America isn’t that typical of the all-around game Childress in three years with Stanford, and — too a lesser extent — in his days with the Hawks and Suns.
[UPDATE: This is not the norm. Childress is now facing a possible ban from the NBL after the elbow.]
One thing’s for certain, Willis Reed would have been wrecking havoc if this went down in the 1960s.
(video via NZAUTV Basketball)
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