Getting a head injury is no laughing matter.
Unless, Apparently, The Injured Person Is The Lakers Big Man Anthony Davis,
Then it's hilarious — at least judging by the reactions of several TV commentators after Davis took an elbow to the head and needed a wheelchair to make his way back to the locker room. Lakers lost 121-106 to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night in San Francisco.
“NBA on TNT” analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal couldn't stop laughingdiscussing the game on the network's postgame show, apparently at Davis' expense.
Barkley said, “Shaq is crumpling up the paper out there, so I'm laughing,” with the implication that the often-injured Davis is made of paper.
Fellow analyst Kenny Smith may also have joined in on the antics, with Barkley indicating that Smith was mimicking the use of a wheelchair with his chair. Smith said he was only adjusting his seat.
Barkley has ridiculed Davis for being injured in the past.
“Yeah, I called him ‘street clothes.' I mean he's hurt more than he's played. Barkley told The Times' Broderick Turner In October. “I mean, I don't know if he ever played 82 games.”
Host on ESPN's “First Take” on Thursday mornings Stephen A. Smith appeared to mock Davis Possibly due to an injury sustained during a basketball game.
“Concussion? Concussion?” Smith said incredulously. “I thought the NFL season was over.”
He then made no effort to hide his amusement at Davis being unable to walk on his own following an injury.
“A wheelchair? A wheelchair?” Smith said with the same incredulous tone. “Really? That's where we are?”
Smith took a second to note (albeit with a wry smile on his face) that he hoped Davis was okay. Then the roasting continued.
“We gotta stop! We gotta stop this, man! It's the playoffs, man!” Smith shouted out, to the obvious amusement of co-host Jay Williams. “I mean, was he running up the middle and collided with Ronnie Lott or something? Did I miss something? … I mean, did he collide with Aaron Donald? Did I miss something? ?”
When reminded that the blows are serious, Smith downplays it for a second or two.
“Wait. No one's saying the injury isn't serious,” he said softly, before going into his hysterical screams again.
“Let's just say we found it hard to believe that there was actually a stroke on the play we were watching! oh my god!”
Hours later, Smith tweeted:
“I was not downplaying the seriousness of the injury in any way. I was questioning whether Anthony Davis really had one, given the play I saw and the other hits I saw him absorb. But, down line of, It was wrong of me to do that. Period! My bad.”
Chris Haynes of TNT reported after the game that Davis “appears to have survived an injury.” The Lakers haven't made an official report on Davis, but coach Derwin Hamm said after the game, “It looks like he's doing really well already.”
So it all sounds like good news. But who knows what kind of short and long term impact this will have on Davis. And, of course, his status for Friday's Game 6 and beyond is also unclear.
Head injuries need to be taken seriously – even if some people on TV don't think so.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times,