NBA brawls are infantile but they’re not necessarily pointless

The Rockets and Lakers fought during LeBron James’s home debut. But confrontations can tell us a lot about how teams see themselves

Sports brawls are dumb and infantile, not to mention expensive for the parties involved, embarrassing in retrospect and, as every TV announcer is legally obliged to note, impossible to explain to “the children watching this” without shattering the delicate latticework of their moral universe.

But that doesn’t mean they’re pointless, and the melee at the Staples Center between the Rockets’ Chris Paul and the Lakers’ Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram, who was cast in the part of the overgrown puppy nipping at the big dogs’ heels, was unusual for all kinds of reasons and will resonate far longer. 

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