This was one of the ugliest incidents of poor sportsmanship in the history of basketball—no hyperbole.
For context, Ronny Turiaf had just fouled out after an exaggerated Rudy Fernandez dive. Batum was likely responding to that trigger.
After the game, Nic was shockingly candid with Adrian Wojnarowksi about why he delivered his dangerous punch:
I asked Nicolas Batum why he hit Juan-Carlos Navarro in the groin. "I wanted to give him a good reason to flop," Batum said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 8, 2012
Told Batum some won't think groin shot is in Olympic spirit. Batum: "Do you think if you lost a game on purpose, that's the Olympic spirit?"— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 8, 2012
Batum said he believes that Spain tanked final preliminary game against Brazil to face France in quarterfinals.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 8, 2012
Finally, I asked Batum if he felt like his punch ultimately gave Navarro a 'good reason' to flop. "I hope so," Batum said.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 8, 2012
I can table the discussion of how the FIBA needs better management in favor of another one: Portland must be uneasy about its $45 million man. He shot well in the tournament, but disappeared against Team USA, going 0-of-4 for seven points.
Between his inability to self-generate offense, unpopular ode to Minnesota before he trudged back to Portland and creating a violent international incident, the Nic era is off to a rocky start.
Brace yourselves, Blazer fans. And cover up those tender parts while you're at it.
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