Kyle Weidie has a fun Q&A with Marcin Gortat (outtakes here), and the Polish center was asked about rule changes he'd like to see in the NBA. In the lighthearted spirit of the interview, he offered up that basketball could stand to be a little more like hockey.
I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That's what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they're waiting for is a fight, you know what I'm saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight ...
During the game?
During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game ... these two guys, they resolved their problem. They're both suspended and they're leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea [chuckles].
You'd need bigger refs. You couldn't have Dick Bavetta out there.
At some point when the referees jump in, then you'd have to stop. You'd have to stop. So I think that would be a great idea, just like the ice hockey fans waiting for that, that's would NBA fans would get into, as well.
He's joking, to some extent. But coming at this from an NHL angle, I immediately thought two things. Gortat, as a casual fan, thinks fighting is one of the most exciting parts of hockey. Look around you in any arena when the gloves are dropped, and everyone's out of their seat. This is a real phenomenon, and anyone looking to ban fighting from the NHL can't discount it.
Then, at the same time, I thought Gortat's idea sounded silly. Stop the game so two players can trade punches while everyone else stands around and watches? It's a ludicrous notion here, but only because we're describing it as a hypothetical, and not a thing that's actually happened for more than a century. If the pro-fighting-in-hockey argument is taken out of context and history (which it can't totally be), it no longer sounds like a very good argument. It sounds like a Polish guy making jokes.