It will stand as the enduring image of the 2010-2011 NBA season for the Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum nonchalantly delivering a forearm shiver to the ribs of a helpless, airborn J.J. Barea and then removing his jersey as he stomped off to the locker room, ejected and dejected.
On Tuesday, the Lakers conducted their post-mortem exit interviews and, according to NBA.com, Bynum issued an apology for the hit.
“I want to apologize for my actions at the start of the fourth quarter of Game 4 against Dallas. They don’t doesn’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Lakers fans out there that want to watch us and want us to succeed. More importantly, I want to apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I’m just glad that he wasn’t seriously injured in the event. All I can say, now that I have looked at it, and it was terrible, is it definitely won’t be happening again.”
“After I saw it,” Bynum said again, “it was definitely embarrassing.”An apology is pretty worthless here given that it's so late-arriving, the fact that Barea could have been put into the hospital and because Bynum is a cheap shot repeat offender. I guess this apology falls into the "better than nothing" category, but only barely.
NBA.com also notes that Bynum said: "I believe I will be suspended."
The only question now is how long NBA commissioner David Stern will suspend Bynum. Will he send a message or sweep this one under the rug? Since the suspension will be served at the beginning of next season, it's not going to have much of an effect unless Stern really throws the book at him.
Here's Bynum's hit on Barea again in case you somehow missed it the first time around.