On the same night that Steph Curry became the oldest player in NBA history to drop 50 points and dish 10 dimes—relax, people, he’s only 33 years old—Nikola Jokic became the first player to almost get his ass beat on national TV by Jimmy Butler.
These are very exciting times.
See what had happened was...
In the final minutes of an ugly, blowout win over the Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets center found himself on the receiving end of a hard foul from Markieff Morris. But instead of being the bigger person (figuratively, at least), pointing at the scoreboard (the Nuggets were up 17 points at the time), and cackling hysterically, Jokic instead opted to retaliate like he was the dork at school who was tired of being punked for his lunch money.
“Oh, my!” yelled a commentator whose voice I don’t immediately recognize. “Jokic just clobbered Markieff Morris from behind!”
That he did.
In fact, Jokic sent that dude careening onto the court so damn hard I thought he was about to knock down every single bowling pin and yell, “Strike!” afterward.
Naturally, the Heat weren’t particularly fond of the three-time All-Star putting their teammate to sleep without reading him a bedtime story beforehand (how rude!), so as Morris was assessed a flagrant foul and Jokic was ejected amongst the chaos, Jimmy Butler extended a cordial invitation to meet him outside.
I might not be the greatest lip reader on The Root staff (that distinction probably goes to Very Smart Brothas co-founder Panama Jackson, since he has the most kids and they all look violent), but Butler is clearly barking the following:
“Bring that shit!”
“Bring yo’ ass to the back!”
“Give Maiysha Kai a raise!”
OK, maybe not the last one, but it still applies. (Editor’s note: Appreciate you, fam. — Maiysha)
While the NBA has yet to announce any suspensions for this debacle, it’s safe to assume that Jokic will be on the receiving end of some stiff league discipline.
“That was a very dangerous and dirty play,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the game. “Keef took a foul, and it was one of those fastbreak take fouls, and he did with his shoulder. You might deem that maybe as a little bit more than just slapping somebody, but after watching it on film, it was a take foul. That’s how I saw it. And the play after, that’s just absolutely uncalled for.”
Jokic seems inclined to agree.
“It’s a stupid play,” he said. “I feel bad. I am not supposed to react that way. [...] I felt bad. I am not supposed to react that way, but I need to protect myself.
“I don’t know who showed me the clip, and actually his head snapped back [after the shove], so I feel really bad. [...] It’s a bad move.”
Considering Jokic is still breathing, I think it’s safe to assume that he politely declined Butler’s offer to engage in fisticuffs. But if I was him, I probably wouldn’t be caught dead in any Miami nightclubs anytime soon.
Also, let us hope and pray that Markieff avoided injury.