Days after Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and teammates waited outside the Mavs’ locker room to confront center Salah Mejri, the NBA has completed its investigation, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. There will be no penalties for Mejri or Ariza following their on-court altercation and postgame near-standoff.
According to sources, Mejri allegedly made a derogatory comment about Ariza’s family in a chippy contest featuring eight technical fouls and two flagrant fouls. Ariza was ejected in the game, but the trash-talk during the game and ensuing conflict after it is more glaring than the Rockets completing the season sweep of the Mavericks.
Mejri denied mentioning Ariza’s wife and kids.
There is always 2 sides to every story.I would never insult an opponent's family regardless of how much a player insulted me repeatedly pic.twitter.com/Gi8b9F8bzD— Salah Mejri (@50Mejri) December 28, 2016
If Mejri did indeed insult Ariza’s family, that is unacceptable. Trash-talking is a skill and, if honed properly, can be an effective tool to disrupting opponents. Gary Payton’s in the Hall of Fame due in no small part to his mouth.
But what Ariza says Mejri said is when trash-talking crosses the line.
The unwritten rules of are not expansive, but it definitely outlaws family talk. Warriors guard Klay Thompson told The Undefeated that families are off limits.
“The only time it’s really crossing the line, is bringing someone’s family into it or talking about race or gender or something,” Thompson said during last year’s Finals. “But when it’s just bad words or some cuss words, man, that’s emotions. You have to let it go and let it stay on the court.”
I am committed to have mutual respect to every player on the court. Let's play BASKETBALL. Happy holidays everyone!! pic.twitter.com/LxZUp03x5m— Salah Mejri (@50Mejri) December 28, 2016
I play varsity basketball in a competitive league. As an undersized guard with average athleticism, I search for any advantage I can find. I hustle, scrap, and occasionally talk shit. Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires.
Trash-talking goes both ways; if I hit a couple shots, the other team will try to get in my head by bumping me off the ball or trash-talking me.
The taunts in high school basketball are not too advanced. They are usually along the lines of, “You ain’t shit” or, “Your shot is ugly.”
I have NEVER even thought of coming at an opponent’s family, regardless of how much he’s lighting it up.
However, according to Jalen Rose’s Friendly Guide to Trash Talking from his book, nothing is out of bounds. Rose says that anything — including family and race — is fair game, but players should respect their opponents and recognize how good they are. Mejri, a backup center averaging 2.6 points per game, has no business jawing with Ariza, but he did... and it worked. Mejri baited Ariza into his second technical foul of the game, and two T’s equals an ejection.
Although Mejri’s comments, in my opinion, crossed the line and violated the unwritten rules of trash-talking, the NBA is right in letting both players walk away unscathed. In fact, history suggests that Ariza could have been suspended. In 2013, Carmelo Anthony was suspended one game after waiting for then-Celtics forward Kevin Garnett after the infamous “Honey Nut Cheerios” game.
Since Mejri’s alleged comments went too far, it is good that the NBA is not suspending Ariza for waiting for him outside the locker room, even though there is precedent.