Batum did what!?
The Portland Trail Blazers created a culture of well-mannered community members following the Jail Blazers era in the early-2000s, and as a result, the team has lacked that certain edge that it takes to compete with the best of the best year in and year out.
Nicolas Batum has probably never been called edgy in his life, but the Olympics have seemingly brought out a different side of the 23-year-old competitor.
Nicolas Batum made an uncharacteristic move at the end of France’s matchup against Spain in the men’s quarterfinals, as he swung and connected on a low-blow to the groin of Juan Carlos Navarro.
Why did Batum do this, you ask?
“I wanted to give him a good reason to flop,” said Batum according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. After Wojnarowski mentioned that such actions might not be looked at as “Olympic Spirit,” Batum responded with this:
Told Batum some won’t think groin shot is in Olympic spirit. Batum: “Do you think if you lost a game on purpose, that’s the Olympic spirit?”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 8, 2012
Batum apologized via Twitter for his actions, but the question becomes, is this something you like to see out of your Portland Trail Blazers?
Naturally, seeing a player slug an opponent should put you a bit on edge; nobody should covet unnecessary violence that could get somebody hurt.
That being said, the Blazers have been knocked the past few seasons for sometimes being soft and allowing teams to push them around without any real objection.
If there’s any positive to take from this, it just might be the fact that we’ve now seen some true passion and emotion out of Batum.
Batum has been extremely passive for a good part of his career in Portland, and now that he has big-time money sitting in his bank account, fans want to make sure he’s going to put the effort forth to earn that contract starting next season.
He’s shown that he can explode for great games in the past, and he’s even shown that he can do it in dominant fashion; but the competitive edge hasn’t always been there.
Do we want to see Batum throwing punches in a Trail Blazers uniform next season? Not a chance.
That being said, we want to see the same kind of passion and the same kind of emotion that led him to feel attacked.
Simply put, we want to know he cares.
If Batum can bottle those emotions and translate them into stellar play and fanatical leadership, he’s on the right path to becoming a truly integral part of the Blazers core group moving forward.