It was one of the most talked about moments of the Olympic basketball tournament — Nicolas Batum (he of the huge new contract with the Trail Blazers) and his French teammates needed to foul Spain, down 6 with 24 seconds left.
Batum did foul Juan Carlos Navarro by punching him in the place a man least wants to be punched. And I don’t mean his face.
It was a cheap shot. A five-game suspension at least if it happened in the NBA.
Batum says he now feels bad about that play, but mostly because of how it reflected on him not for doing it. That’s what it sounds like in this quote from Casey Holdahl’s piece at an official Trail Blazers blog.
“What I’m mad about is what I showed to people about myself, what I showed about the game, about France, everything,” said Batum. “I feel bad about it because that’s not me. I’m human. I lost it. I just lost it.
“You don’t want this type of action. I can’t do it. You can’t see that on the court. If the (International Basketball) Federation or the Olympics want to suspend me a couple games or fine me, I’m okay with that. I won’t say anything.”
Batum was frustrated, France had the lead in that game but were on a 0-11 shooting streak from the field when he had to foul. But I dare him to try that in an NBA game. The retribution will be a lot quicker, more stuff and more expensive.