Sunday night, March 10, around 7:35 p.m. ET. Brandon Knight passed away after being dunked on so hard by DeAndre Jordan. At least that's what Twitter would have you believe.
Seriously, "RIP Brandon Knight" was trending worldwide on Twitter.
In reality, Knight was fine. His biggest injury was probably a bruised ego, which even he was playing off later that night with this tweet.
Brandon Knight @Goodknight11
It wasn't in the scouting reports that the clippers threw lobs lol2013-3-11 06:33:19
But all of the "Brandon Knight is dead now" jokes really got to Yahoo! columnist, Adrian Wojnaroski:
The message is clear to players everywhere, on every level: Run away. Hide. Don't try to take the charge. Don't try to disrupt the play. There's no reward. This is how backward the basketball culture has become, how twisted the value system.
Exactly how is our value system twisted? Should we all focus entirely on Jordan and his dunk, completely ignoring Knight? Or maybe we should temper our reaction and our tweets:
"Incredible dunk by DeAndre Jordan. And mad props for Brandon Knight to contest the play. Participation trophies all around!"
I also take issue with the "no reward" statement. If Knight had managed to block Jordan's dunk, the internet still would have exploded, just on a lesser scale. We'd have GIFs and videos of the block and—who knows?—we might be calling it the block of the year.
But if that happened, we wouldn't want to send the wrong message to kids: "Don't try to dunk, you could get blocked. There's nothing in it for you but ridicule."
Wojnarowski goes so far to defend Knight that he feels the need to knock Jordan down a peg:
Jordan made a spectacular play. No one will soon forget it. So congratulations and all. Jordan has a $43 million contract and yet still doesn't have one offensive move, an ability to score outside the paint. Yes, he can leap, dunk on little guys. And somehow that makes him an achiever in the sport now. After this, perhaps even a folk hero.
Basketball is entertainment. It's a game. Jordan made a play that made all of us jump out of our seat and high-five our buddies because it was so much fun to watch. But apparently we're just supposed to go, "So what? He can't even score outside the paint. Call me when you have a reliable jumper, DeAndre!"
The culture of this sport has never been so backward, never so twisted. Hell of a dunk out of DeAndre Jordan, but maybe the wrong player gets the ovation.
So the dunk happened. We ragged on Knight. It happens. Sometimes even when you try to do the right thing you put yourself in a position to be made fun of. But Knight laughed it off, as he should. He'll keep playing basketball and he'll keep trying to make those plays because, as Wojnarowski pointed out, that's the kind of player and the kind of person he is. We all had some fun. Life goes on.
Don't give me all of this "backwards culture of sports" stuff. That's just a bunch of hand-wringing. We'll always support the spectacular play because, when it's all said and done, it's more entertaining and sports are an entertainment business.
People will continue to get dunked on because it's in our nature to go contest those shots. Players have a millisecond to react, and in that millisecond they're probably not thinking about YouTube. And when that happens, we'll all react the exact same way. Not because our culture is so messed up and backwards.
But because it was just awesome.