Now for further context, it is customary (a professional sport unwritten law) that hard fouls or hard contact is to be avoided at all cost in an All-Star game. It's considered a cheap-shot if you do otherwise. Just ask Pete Rose:
Pete Rose was never afraid to go all-out on the baseball field -- almost to a fault. Rose's decision to run over Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game is one of the more controversial plays of Rose's career, and it's one that lost him some respect within the game. source
To his credit, D-Wade privately apologized and Kobe took no offense:
After the Lakers' 104-85 victory Wednesday over theMinnesota Timberwolves, Bryant maintained that the foul didn't shatter their relationship.
"It's always entertaining to me to hear people talk about our relationship as if they know really what's going on and try to say there's something between them and all this other stuff," said Bryant, who played with Wade in the FIBAS Americas tournament in 2007 and the 2008 Olympics. "It was very simple. It was very simple. He didn't mean to do it. It's just something that just happens. He's not that type of person." source
|Kobe's new look|
Now by all accounts, D-Wade has a nice guy persona and Kobe has, uh, let's just say Kobe is Kobe. And one can argue because of this dynamic, Wade is getting (except in L.A.) a free pass.
But allow me to play the devil's advocate: If the roles were reversed and Kobe hard fouls Wade during an All-Star break, would Kobe get the Son-of-Sam treatment in the press?
Let's take it a little further -- just for entertainment sake: what if Kobe hard fouls Jeremy Lin (I know he's not an All-Star yet) and Lin's nose was broken, would Kobe become an international pariah?
But Kobe best sums up why D-Wade gets a free pass (almost everywhere) for violated a gentlemen's agreement:
"He's a nicer guy than I am, to be honest with you," Bryant said. "He's just not the type of person who would intentionally do something like that.... All that matters is what our relationship is like, really. We communicated. It's all good. But here in L.A. I'm sure his perception has definitely been altered." source