Hey, Danilo Gallinari? They call these exhibition games between national teams “friendlies.” And — where I come from, at least — punching a dude in the face is not very friendly.
While playing for the Italian national team against the Netherlands during an exhibition on Sunday, Gallinari was on the receiving end of a shot to the neck/throat area from Dutch big man Jito Kok while fighting for rebounding position after a free throw. The newly minted Los Angeles Clippers forward didn’t take too kindly to the blow, and immediately made his way over to shove Kok, who didn’t back down. After some initial pushing, Gallinari reared back and clocked Kok in the face with a hard right hand.
Shortly after the swing, Gallinari exited the game and headed to a local hospital to have a doctor take a look at his hand. As it turns out, punching someone in the face with your shooting hand is not such a great idea.
— Italbasket (@Italbasket) July 30, 2017
Danilo Gallinari out of EuroBasket with his broken hand, says the Italian Federation. https://t.co/iT9HfGfrlp
— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) July 30, 2017
Gallinari's injury is to the base of his right thumb. He’s now broken both thumbs during his career.
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) July 30, 2017
That sound you just heard was Clippers head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers screaming every Italian curse word he knows.
According to the Italian Basketball Federation, Gallinari will miss the entirety of the upcoming EuroBasket 2017 competition, with the injury expected to take 40 days to heal.
Only thing dumber than punching someone when you work with your hands is punching someone in a national team exhibition game. C'mon, Gallo https://t.co/4hdAehkJ0W
— Austin Green (@LosCrossovers) July 30, 2017
The good news for the Clips? The injury’s not expected to require surgery, and Gallinari’s expected to be ready for training camp, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The bad news? The new offensive weapon you just gave $65 million to round out the frontcourt you’re hoping will keep you in postseason contention after losing superstar point guard Chris Paul just broke a bone in his shooting hand on some Dutch dude’s face, which is a pretty big bummer for a franchise that must have hoped had put this specific kind of injury behind it.
On a lighter note, Kok — the punch-ee, who played four years of college ball at the University of San Diego before graduating in 2016 and has played professionally in Greece and Estonia for the past two years — checked into a Reddit thread on Sunday evening to let everyone know he was OK after getting duffed.
“That’s me getting hit right there,” wrote Reddit user “Joopooj” — also the screen name associated with a locked Twitter account and a YouTube channel that both bear the display name “Jito Kok,” for what it’s worth — on Sunday night. “By the way there was no build up either, I do think I hit him on that box out tho. He wasn’t too happy with that.”
In an attempt to provide proof that he is who he claims he is, Kok posted a photo of himself wearing a Dutch national team T-shirt that showed a slight bruise on his left cheek. He then proceeded to hang around in the comments for a while, engaging with readers wondering about how it all went down, what it’s like to play against NBA and EuroLeague players, and how he’s feeling.
“Lucky I didn’t fracture my cheek bone, he’s definitely worse off haha,” Kok wrote.
So Gallinari’s the one who throws the punch, but Kok’s the one who gets the last laugh. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Hat-tip to Hal Conick on Kok’s Reddit drop-in.
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