Hassan Whiteside Ejected for Elbow to the Face, Sent Home by Miami Heat

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

For about a minute, the journey of Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside back to the NBA was a feel-good story.

The 33rd overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, the shot-blocking seven-footer played a total of 19 NBA games over two seasons before maturity issues contributed to his leaving the league to play overseas.

He returned in a big way for the Heat, who, needing a center, took a flier on him.

Numbers-wise, it was a great move for all involved. He played in 48 games last year, averaging 11.8 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in under 24 minutes per game.

Those numbers are up this season, averaging 12.2 points, 11 rebounds, and a league-leading 3.9 swats per contest.

Despite the increased production, Whiteside's maturity issues continue to follow him around.

The latest example came Tuesday night, when he elbowed San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic, seemingly for being 7'3".

The result was a (sort of) seven-point play and an ejection for Whiteside for a flagrant foul 2. The incident occurred after a four-point play by Patty Mills, Marjanovic then made the flagrant free-throw, followed by a Kawhi Leonard jumped 16 seconds later after the Spurs received the ball.

This isn't his first violent incident with a huge, white, foreign guy.

Last year he targeted the Boston Celtics' Canadian big man Kelly Olynyk.

And got into it with the Phoenix Suns' Alex Len, of the Ukraine.

This season, he did whatever this is to Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams from Australia.

Teammates said Whiteside wasn't in the locker room when they arrived after losing 119-101.

Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra said the center was told to go home.

"That's something we'll deal with with Hassan," the coach said. "We don't condone that kind of play. We've been through this with him before. But it's a disappointing play. That's not a basketball play."

His Heat teammates expressed disappointment.

"The next step for him is really learning about reputation," said team captain Chris Bosh. "Unfortunately, he's taken a step back. You have to build your reputation back up. Whether it's right or wrong, whether he made contact or not, I really don't know. But people see that and tend to expect certain things."

Bosh's co-captain, Dwyane Wade, offered support.

"You never turn your back on your teammate, but at the same time you are not always in a position to grab someone's hand and walk them through every step of the way," Wade said. "He has been pretty good to this point [in the season]. Everyone has a lapse in judgement and obviously he had one. … Sometimes, we don't know what he is thinking, but like I said, we support each other."

 

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