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Basketball Brawl

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

It's been called one of the worst fights in U.S. professional sports' history.

Friday night's brawl between fans and basketball players escalated quickly and resulted in the suspension of nine players for a total of 143 games.

But how does the bad behavior by big time NBA players effect local kids who aspire to become basketball stars? On the court, Bryan high basketball players can only dream of making it to the NBA.

On the court, Bryan High Varsity basketball players can only dream of making it to the NBA.

"I love the camaraderie and the competition it offers," says Senior Michael Oehme.

"I've been playing since I was little. You grow up watching Michael Jordan," says Senior John Smith.

But the "throw down in Motown" is shining an ugly spotlight on the league, and turning fans off to the game.

"I thought they'd be more professional since they're in the NBA," says Smith.

The brawl between the pacers, pistons and their fans Friday night brought stern punishment from the NBA.

Ron Artest has been suspended for the rest of the season, making it the longest in the league's history.

8 other players have also been suspended for up to 30 games.

"We as high school coaches have to teach our kids that it's great to have role models but you know right from wrong. You've got to distinguish the two and there are consequences when you act out like that," says Coach John Reese.

Coach John Reese says he teaches his players to stay focused on the game.

"It's definitely something you need to address. Because when you go on the road there's gonna be hostile crowds and you've got to leave the crowd out of the game. You've got to stay focused or you're gonna lose 9 times out of 10," says Reese.

Coach Reese says there is a thin line between playing with passion and going too far.

"We play between the lines and that's where you need to play. You compete on the field. You want to win. You want your kids to be competitive but you've got to keep it within the realms of play," says Reese.

But what happened has also caused mix feelings about the fans involvement in instigating the fight.

"I don't agree with them going into the stands to fight the fans -- at the same time the fans were wrong for what they did," says Oehme.

An investigation continues into the Friday night fiasco and the player's union will appeal the suspensions, but the NBA has already suffered a blow to its fan base and its image.


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