Raptors Fans Display Poor Taste in Booing Bargnani
The Toronto Raptors' loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night was a disappointing one considering the team squandered a ten point lead in the fourth quarter, but what was worse, was the way Andrea Bargnani was welcomed back from injury.
After missing 26 games due to an elbow injury, Bargnani checked in to a mix of boos and cheers, and even some fans went as far as standing up to give him the two thumbs-down sign.
Now I get the frustration as of late with Bargnani, and some fans have been calling for the big man to be traded and others have even blamed him for the team's string of losses earlier this season.
And yes we can break down his game and highlight that the defensive end of his game is lousy, but he does make up for it on the other end, being one of the team's top scorers.
Then there are the injury problems that have sidelined the big man for long stretches - this season the elbow injury that kept him out for eight weeks, last season it was a calf injury that kept him out for just over half of the season - and fans have been harsh in their criticisms, even going as far as calling him soft.
But with that being said, the reception he received was totally uncalled for and head coach Dwane Casey was disappointed and rightfully so.
"I'm disappointed because this young man has done nothing to deserve that. He's been hurt. Fans have a right to boo, cheer, boo me. Whoever they want to boo, but I don't think Andrea deserves that. The young man's coming back from a serious injury. But he was a pro about it, came in and played, and gave us everything we needed.''
The message is loud and clear - fans want to see Bargnani gone and with the NBA trade deadline coming up on February 21, I expect we'll hear his name come up in every possible conversation, whether it makes sense or not. But giving him the same treatment that's been reserved for the likes of former Raptors Chris Bosh, Vince Carter and Hedo Turkoglu; who have all left fans disgruntled in their exits; is just plain wrong.
Bargnani is still a Raptor and until that changes, he deserves to be treated with some respect.
And he deserves credit for the way he handled the situation, not letting it get to him; and if it did, he certainly hid it well, pouring in 13 points in his 24 minutes of action including a dunk in the 3rd quarter that had the same betraying fans on their feet cheering.
"I had no reaction. I tried to focus on the game. I heard some cheers, some boos, I tried to be aggressive and tried to help my team," said Bargnani after the game.
So until Bargnani gets shipped out of Toronto, which he likely will be, let's save the booing until he's dressed in another team's uniform.