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Cereal and Slapboxing - Chris 'Preach' Smith

Full disclaimer: I had Honey Nut Cheerios this morning for breakfast.

Breakfast cereal and allegation’s about a man’s wife have now become the
main story out of the Boston Celtics’ win over the New York Knicks this past
Monday night. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony got so pissed after Boston’s Kevin
Garnett allegedly said his wife, LaLa Vasquez tasted like the aforementioned 
cereal, that ‘Melo basically let the ‘hood out. Cursing Garnett repeatedly, even
waiting by the Boston bus after the game; ‘Melo was visibly upset. Some would
say KG got into ‘Melo’s head with that comment, and I agree. But Boston was 
already in his head from the beginning of the game because Anthony had a 
lousy shooting night, and KG played a part along with Jared Sullinger’s defense.
The KG comment just added extra to it. But we’re here to talk about NBA fights
and cereal.

I’ve seen a lot of comments as to why ‘Melo, if he was so offended, didn’t lay 
into KG right then and there. It’s simple. He didn’t want to be the next Ron
Artest aka Metta World Peace. Getting into a fight on the court means fines
and definite suspensions. For both teams, it’s a costly situation. The Knicks,
team that I love, have that history of ruckus on the court. I still can’t look at
Jeff Van Gundy without remembering him hanging on for dear life onto Alonzo
Mourning’s leg when the Miami Heat and New York had their battle in MSG that
time. And truthfully, we’ve had some years after where that swagger evaporated
like Pabst Blue Ribbon at a dive bar off Lorimer Street. But this situation is a 
sign it’s coming back. Boston thrives on toughness under Doc Rivers. That’s 
how they won their ‘chip in 2009. Garnett is their tough guy who also has a 
rep for saying outlandish and callous things to get under an opponent’s skin.
He told Tim Duncan ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ during a game with the Spurs. Duncan
lost his mother to cancer when he was 14. Most notably, he called Charlie Villanueva
of the Detroit Pistons a ‘cancer patient’ in a game a couple of years ago and was
vilified for it. I mean, he slapped a player in the onions before while he was 
taking a shot. TWICE. Garnett is a competitor, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary
for him to say what LaLa tasted like. 

There are those that will say ‘Melo is a fake tough guy. That belief stems from 
some still angry about the trade that brought him here to New York plus his 
apparent conflict with rising star Jeremy Lin, a former teammate. The other part
some might not remember. ‘Melo was at the center of the last big brawl the NBA
witnessed, right on the Madison Square Garden floor about seven years ago. See,
throwing a punch heard throughout the stadium, then backpedaling? Not a good

When that went down, 2 years after the famous brawl between the Indiana Pacers 
and the Detroit Pistons where Metta World Peace went Queensbridge loco into the
stands, the NBA was enraged. Seven players involved got suspended for 47 games
total, ‘Melo getting the longest time out with 15 games. Both teams got fined about
$500,000. That tarnished Anthony for a time, and was one of the many lowlights of
the Isian Thomas era in New York, with heavy suspicion that he instigated the whole
thing because of a cryptic comment he made to ‘Melo before the incident. So it’s no
wonder ‘Melo held back on throwing blows even though his anger got people on edge.
A side note: two of the officials from that game back in 2006 were working Monday’s
game too. For a while after, the NBA dealt with the stigma, a portion of it racial. I can
recall hearing a few comments about ‘monkeys with basketballs’ made in the months
after. It was a taste of what being an NBA fan must’ve been like in those days before
Magic and Bird got on the scene. 

‘Melo and KG weren’t going to fight. Not with all that looming behind them. Questioning
their toughness is an exercise best suited for YouTube comment streams and front
porch hangout sessions. Both of their backgrounds lead me to believe they can scrap,
Garnett having that edge. But that’s not part of the NBA ticket. KG was wrong for
saying LaLa tasted like Cheerios, and ‘Melo approached that man because that’s his
wife being talked about. If he didn’t say anything, he would’ve still been labeled a
chump. But these dudes are millionaires in the end. And millionaires don’t throw away
money quite like the rest of us. But if it’s the playoffs? Then you might see hands fly.

And for the record? I thought Apple Jacks would’ve been mentioned before Cheerios.
Oh well.