Basketball journeyman Hassan Whiteside has emerged as a dominant force in the NBA this season, and it has proved to be one of the better stories of the year. After being overlooked by teams on numerous occasions and traveling all over the world looking for opportunities, Whiteside has finally managed to cement himself as a legitimate NBA big man with incredible upside and fantastic shot-blocking and rebounding ability.
On a personal level, Whiteside’s arrival on the scene is being kinda soured by his constant whining about teams passing up on him, and even more so by dirty on-court antics. Whiteside was ejected from a game earlier this month for tackling Phoenix Suns big man Alex Len, and last night he was assessed a flagrant foul two and tossed from the Heat’s 100-90 loss to the Boston Celtics for an ugly cheap-shot on Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk.
Kelly Olynyk on Whiteside hit: “I don’t even know what happened there… I just got up.” Says they weren’t jawing.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 10, 2015
Whiteside can expect a hefty fine from the NBA after nailing a defenseless Olynyk in the back of the dome with an elbow. For someone like Whiteside, who had struggled to find his niche in the NBA prior to this season, initiating incidents like this could make him an afterthought in the Association. Heat star Dwyane Wade knows this, and he had some strong words regarding Whiteside’s actions after the loss.
Hopefully for the Heat, Whiteside learns from this and displays a higher level of maturity and discipline next time he gets frustrated. It’s never effective to channel your anger through violent actions on the basketball court, and Whiteside should know this better than anyone else.
UPDATE 3:30 PM ET
Hassan Whiteside has been suspended one game without pay for his cheap-shot on Kelly Olynyk. Whiteside will miss the Heat’s game against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
When speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Whiteside expressed a significant level of guilt regarding the incident, stating that he “felt terrible” about hitting Olynyk.
Hassan Whiteside: “I mean I just feel terrible about it. It’s probably the worst 12 hours of my life.” He showed genuine contrition. #Heat
— Josh Friedman (@Friedo1043) March 10, 2015
Whiteside: “I felt like I let my teammates down. It was a terrible decision on my part. I just want to apologize to everybody and Heat fans”
— Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA) March 10, 2015
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had this to say in regards to Whiteside:
Spo on Whiteside: “We’re not turning our back on Hassan, he’s a family member. We’re going to correct this with him and move forward.”
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 10, 2015