At first glance, the following video appears to be of the Memphis Grizzlies’ Grayson Allen absorbing a hard and aggressive foul from the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young in Saturday’s preseason game, and objecting to it. You watch it and, like the broadcast analyst, think, Wait, then what’s Trae Young so mad about? He’s the one who did it.
It only gets funny when you watch the slow-motion replays. That’s when you can see that Allen, as he turns the corner on Young, throws his right arm out and attempts to hook Young around the chest with it, and keeps trying to drag him down to the floor even as Young commits the foul. It’s important to note that Allen had a step on Young, one of the NBA’s most feeble and helpless defenders, prior to all of this. He could have muscled through Young to the rim or shrugged him all the way off. At the absolute least he was going to get a pair of free throws out of it, if not a minimally contested layup or an and-one. No matter. The demands of the basketball goon lifestyle supersede all other concerns, even when you are the one being fouled.
The result? A skirmish, a technical foul on Young, and a single free throw for the Grizzlies. One point, instead of two or three. That is true commitment.
This is, by informal count, the third straight preseason in which Allen has gotten into a weird, unnecessary tiff with an opposing player and sneered about it. Last year it was [CORRECTION: Grant] Williams of the Boston Celtics; Allen took a wild hack at Williams’s head on a shot attempt under the rim, and was ejected.
In 2018, Allen’s rookie season, it was Trae Young again, and an extremely weird and aggressive wrestling move on a swipe-through attempt.
The year before that, Grayson Allen was in college, tripping every opponent near him.
This is almost kind of reassuring. As the NBA season returns, the old familiar rhythms (of Grayson Allen always finding stupid ways to start fights) and feelings (of hoping Grayson Allen falls down a manhole) are back, and not a moment too soon.