In the category of "interesting but extremely unlikely" ideas for how to improve the NBA, Washington Wizards big man Marcin Gortat recently said he thinks the league should allow in-game fighting between players.
In an interview with ESPN's True Hoop, Gortat told Kyle Weidie that he wishes the NBA would loosen up its fines for fighting. In fact, Gortat said, while the league is at it it should re-consider its brawling policy.
"...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 ..."
Gortat is advocating for quick, in-game bouts that would allow players to work out their differences while also energizing fans. He elaborated on his wish in the ESPN interview:
"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].
While this may sound good in theory, Gortat's idea is implausible for several reasons. First and foremost, since the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the NBA has done everything in its power to stop fighting between teams.
Moreover, fighting has never been a part of basketball culture, the way that it is in hockey. There are no "enforcers" in the NBA (with apologies to the late Maurice Lucas), and players aren't wearing any protective pads.
For now, we can place Gortat's idea alongside Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's push for the NBA to legalize HGH in the "thought-provoking but pretty problematic" file.