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Why Dwyane Wade’s Foul on Kobe Bryant Was Great

February 27, 2012 – Dan Favale

With just under nine minutes to go in the third quarter of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, Dwyane Wade mauled Kobe Bryant on his way to the basket, a foul Wade, and the rest of the basketball world should bask in.

The All-Star game is a hotbed for superstar talent, but it is also a magnet for subpar competition. The game itself has no effect on the standings, or anything of that nature, and because of this, athletes aren’t motivated to exert the same amount of effort they would in a meaningful game.

And while Wade’s foul will be misconstrued by some as an attempt to rain on Bryant’s record-breaking parade, or an act of jealousy, the fact is that it was a good, hard foul. There was no malice intended, but rather Wade was forcing the Black Mamba to earn his points in a game that the East were desperately trying to win.

That’s a difficult concept for some to grasp, the desire to win an All-Star game. Despite finding themselves down by as many as 21 points, the East never gave up. They clawed their way back into the game, and even had a chance to take the lead in the closing minutes. But that’s not the point.

The point is that Wade, and the rest of his Eastern Conference teammates, cared about the outcome of the game. And so did the Western Conference.

While the West dominated for a majority of the game, the East never disappeared. It was a battle of epic proportions that had a little bit of everything. There was a record-breaking performance by Bryant, a resurgence led by LeBron James, a first time MVP in Kevin Durant and an unlikely hero is Russell Westbrook. And all of this came amidst an All-Star game that provoked All-Star caliber competition.

As much as fans appreciate captivating dunks—and there were plenty of those—a committed effort is even more important.

So, as we watch the countless replays of Wade’s nose-bleed inducing, and unapologetic, foul on Bryant, let us not lose sight of what it really meant.

It was not an act of ill-will. It was not an unwarranted tactic. And most importantly, it was not something the media and entire public sphere must blow out of proportion.

It was simply an athlete doing what he could to give his team the best possible chance at remaining in a game he wanted to win. It was symbol for the transcendence of the NBA All-Star game. It was competition at its best.

And that’s nothing to be sorry about.

Dan Favale is an avid basketball analyst and firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His work can be found at in addition to Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.

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