The Los Angeles Clippers hosted the Milwaukee Bucks on a Wednesday Night showcase of the best two players in the NBA: Kawhi Leonard vs. Giannis Antenosdndjkgetph.
The problem was, Kawhi Leonard took the night off for ‘load management’ and people’s heads exploded.
Load Management is a term created last season to explain Kawhi Leonard being healthy as hell and still only playing 60 games with the Toronto Raptors so he can preserve his body for their long playoff run that inevitably ended in an NBA Championship.
You would think that coming off the very visibly and tangible success of Kawhi’s rest schedule that everyone would realize that the end results are well worth sacrificing a few random games in the middle of the week that essentially don’t matter to anyone outside of gamblers and guys in barbershops shouting about who the best player is.
Fans yearn for this era in the NBA where guys played 48 minutes every single night. Back when men were men and boys were boys and Michael Jordan would beat the Utah Jazz and then hit the casino til 6am getting blackout drunk only to sleep 3 hours before heading to the arena for a 1pm mantinee against the Miami Heat. REAL BALLERS ONLY.
And to make matters worse, it seems like all of the analysts are 90’s NBA players who think their brand of basketball was superior to today’s. The Golden State Warriors went to five consecutive NBA Finals and Charles Barkley is still out here like ‘I don’t think a team that shoots that many 3’s can win’.
Any time you watch a game on ESPN, Jeff Van Gundy is constantly moaning and groaning every time a ref blows his whistle. No foul can be called because back in his day, there were no fouls apparently.
NBA narratives are written by former players who seem to hate the NBA for reasons I can’t even fathom. They never celebrate what’s going on on the court. They hate Steph’s threes. They hate Harden’s isos. They hate Kawhi…wanting to be healthy?
And what’s this nonsense debate even more pointless is that the league has a rule against benching healthy players that they had to install after Gregg Popovich consistently sat his stars for nationally televised games just to be a little dickling. By the way, why exactly do people like Coach Pop so much? Seems like a real moody asshole for no reason but that’s a conversation for another day. Or buy me one (1) bud light and I’ll yell at you about how corny the Spurs are.
Here is what an NBA official said regarding Kawhi’s load management game Wednesday night:
“Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league’s resting policy, and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers injury report,”
His knee hurts.
Would you feel better if the Clippers came out and said that Kawhi had a sore knee and simply needed a night off or would you bastions of athletic masculinity move the goalposts to ‘MY KNEES HURT EVERY DAY AND I STILL GO TO WORK, COWARD’.
My man has a history of leg injuries. Why do we act as if we know more about his body than he does? If his legs hurt, his legs hurt. It’s that simple.
Even in the playoffs after missing around 25% of the season, Kawhi still had a clear limp.
Kawhi’s legs don’t work.
Let him sit as much as he needs to in order to perform the best he can when the games don’t matter. Why is this even a discussion?
What makes this whole conversation even more disingenuous is I know a lot of people who are going to read this from home as they took the day off from work because they had a headache or some shit.
You can’t be out here calling out sick with a hangover while simultaneously demanding Kawhi Leonard play against Giannis for your own selfish enjoyment.
I’m a firm believer of using all of the sick and vacation days that your company provides you. Kawhi is the human embodiment of my ‘fuck your job’ mentality.
My favorite part of this ‘the sky is falling’ quote from Doris Burke about the league having a problem with guys resting for nationally televised games is that she starts off by casually mentioning that Kawhi will play Thursday night against the Portland Trailblazers on TNT for a nationally televised game.
LeBron James plays every game. Giannis plays every game. James Harden plays every game.
Is this really a crisis for the league or is it just exclusively Kawhi Leonard not giving a shit about battling Giannis on ESPN because, well, HIS LEGS HURT.
And for lame fans who are mad at Kawhi for not playing when they already purchased tickets to see him play, perhaps we should turn our attention to the league and these owners for making games so expensive.
We are fine with the idea of paying $400 for two tickets and $100 on concessions. That’s not the conflict. Nope, we are instead mad at one individual employee of the company for needing a break from work.
Easy solution: make the regular season longer.
Not add more games but extend the season so that no one ever has to play a back-to-back. If you are Sooo0o0o0o concerned about healthy players resting on back-to-backs then, *whispers into palm* remove back-to-backs. Duh.
Anthony Davis sat out the entire second half of last season because he knew he was being traded that summer and didn’t want to risk the possibility of hurting himself. He was healthy and didn’t want to ruin his trade value and we’re all out here praising how great he looks playing alongside LeBron.
None of this shit matters. We’ll forget that Kawhi rested against Giannis in a random November game. Load Management is a problem the same way Juuls are a problem in that it’s not a problem at all and we should be more angry at the owners for making NBA games cost your life savings to sit in the nosebleeds.
Eat rich people, not their employees.