Note: Apologies for the weird music and crappy video quality, but it’s all we have to work with at the moment.
The Canadian men’s basketball team isn’t participating in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, so it’s currently on an 11-game exhibition tour of Europe in order to help strengthen and build up the program. The latest tour stop came Monday against Serbia, where the Canadians put up a valiant effort against one of the better teams in the world, before ultimately losing, 78-73. During the game, Boston Celtics second-year man Kelly Olynyk notched 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 rebounds and one encounter with a baseline billboard that was perhaps positioned a little too close to the court.
Now, here’s the part where you say “gee, that sounds familiar”.
Olynyk’s baseline entanglement occurred only days after Paul George suffered a horrific compound double fracture after making contact with a basket stanchion in Las Vegas. Obviously, George’s injury received more coverage because 1) it involved an established NBA star, 2) it involved Team USA, 3) thousands of people were watching, and 4) his friggin’ leg snapped in half. It also helps that Olynyk managed to walk away from his baseline adventure unscathed — albeit awkwardly — so it’s basically no harm, no foul (although, he may want to have a word with whoever threw that god-awful pass that sent him crashing into said billboard).
That being said, after two baseline incidents involving NBA players in two days, the only real takeaway is this: hazards exist along basketball courts all around the world, whether it be stanchions, billboards, scorer’s tables, photographers or fans. Some situations are more preventable than others (like not having billboards blocking baseline access), but outside of wrapping players in bubble wrap and clearing ten feet of space around every court, you just have to hope that these guys are coordinated and athletic enough to avoid catastrophic injuries.