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Roy Hibbert explains why he didn’t shake hands with Heat following Game 7 loss

Jun 4, 2013, 3:41 PM EDT

roy hibbert game 7

The Heat had closed out Game 7 against the Pacers long before the final buzzer had sounded, putting together a solid performance that had them leading by as many as 28 points in the fourth quarter before all was said and done.

Once it was over, most of the Pacers exchanged handshakes with the Heat players, in what’s been a common tradition following just about every playoff series.

Noticeably absent from the Indiana side were Roy Hibbert and David West, who each had their own reasons for not wanting to share in the festivities.

From Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:

For West, it’s simple.

He’s old school. He’s like the players in the 1980’s. He doesn’t have time to be buddies with his opponent. That’s why West never shook hands with any Heat players during the 10 meetings this season.

For Hibbert, it was different.

He’s never played with any of the Heat players. He respects them, but it wasn’t the time to be crashing their party.

“I know some of our guys have played on teams with some of them, but I don’t know them personally,” Hibbert explained to The Star. “It was their moment because they won. I have tremendous respect for them, but I don’t know any of those guys personally and I didn’t want to interrupt their moment.”

Some people want to criticize Hibbert for this specifically, citing further evidence that he’s now some sort of NBA bad guy between this (non-) incident and his unfortunate remarks made in the press conference following Game 6.

But whether or not you believe Hibbert’s reasoning, this really is nothing to be upset about.

If this Pacers team had any type of meaningful multi-year playoff history with the Heat, and had been on the winning side of things in the past, it could be argued that skipping out on congratulating your opponent puts you squarely in the category of being a sore loser.

That’s not what this was, however.

The most famous example of bailing on the post-series handshake came in 1991, when Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls finally beat the Bad Boys era Detroit Pistons to earn a trip to their first NBA Finals. Isiah Thomas and the rest of the Pistons left the floor before the game was even over to avoid the public passing of the torch that so many were hoping to see, after Detroit had beaten Chicago in the playoffs in each of the previous three seasons.

Now, if the Pacers face the Heat again next season and are able to knock them off after losing to them in the playoffs two straight years, and if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade leave the floor without the customary exchange, then go ahead and label them as you will. But for all the reasons just mentioned, Hibbert isn’t deserving of any additional scorn.

  1. jzone954 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    As a heat fan I see nothing wrong with that…….

  2. logisticalvoices - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    It’s always bush not to shake hands. You can be a warrior on the court, hate the other team’s guts, and still give a quick handshake. It’s not being fake, it’s about respect for the game.

    • conjecture101 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      This isn’t high school or college anymore, there is no need to humor your opponent with a tired courtesy that means absolutely nothing.

      • logisticalvoices - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        Why is it appropriate for high school and college players to shake hands and not pros? Look, if its not a big deal, then little leagues and high schools shouldn’t force kids to participate in a “tired courtesy that means absolutely nothing”. The fact that so many people are passionate about this issue one way or the other just proves that it means something.

        That being said conjecture101, I shake your hand for a good comment.

      • revskip - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        The handshake at the end of the game is to humor your opponent. It is to show you are a good sport and understand how to lose as well as how to win.

        Not shaking hands is the very definition of sore loser.

      • pantsfreezone - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        It doesn’t mean absolutely nothing. Check out Duncan shaking hands with LeBron after they knocked the Cavs out. It means something to lose gracefully, just the same as it means something to win gracefully.

      • badintent - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:19 PM

        Hibbett had a Kevin Rondo Garnett brain freeze moment.The cream rises to the top, the crud sinks.

    • nard100 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Whatever happened to sportsmanship and giving some credit where it’s due on the part of your opponent. It doesn’t make you less of a man, in fact it shows you are more of one because you have the courage to look your opponent in the eye after the came and say something positive even when you don’t want to. I’m not saying anything bad about those that don’t, but that I admire those who have the personal fortitude look their opponent in the eye after it’s over and say, “nice game”.

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      I don’t see baseball players running into the celebration to shake hands, Hibs
      was right, you don’t have to shake hands after getting your butt kicked, if you do fine.

    • Charles L. Freeman - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      They’re not a “warrior on the court”; warriors are soldiers in combat for their lives. These guys are basketball players making millions and millions of dollars for playing a game. Nothing more; nothing less.

    • hehateme2 - Jun 5, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      More classless actions from a couple of the pacers. Poor losers is what it was. Seen it all before after a blowout.

      I don’t believe Hibbert for one moment-

  3. cantonbound13 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Very LeBronesque

  4. mz1394 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    No problem with it. sports need more players that hate to lose

  5. beachsidejames - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    crash the party? Party dosen’t start untill after the handshakes. Thats what respecting the other team is. To be critisized for unfortunate offensive remarks that he made? Any other excuses for being a sore loser. It was a classless act from a guy who just wasn’t man enough to do the right thing. You shake hands,congradulate, and try to do better next time. Vogel was the class of the Pacer team along with # 24, Hill, and the kid from Brooklyn.

  6. gofuccyourselfflorio - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I loved seeing Roy take off without shaking hands. Of course the pansy media gets on his case and he had to generate a decent explanation – give them their moment, thats good stuff. D West just doesn’t give a fug what you think.

  7. raidmagic - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Everyone killed Lebron for walking off and not shaking hands with the Magic in 09. I didn’t see the big deal then and I don’t see it now.

  8. brutl - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Man, you guys are predictable.

  9. canehouse - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    It was well fought battle… certainly he has the right to do as please and to respect the winner in any fashion that he sees fit. But there is absolutely nothing soft about congratulating and being congratulated.

    • Charles L. Freeman - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      It wasn’t a “battle”; it was an NBA playoff game. Ask a soldier what a battle is.

  10. dolphindubs - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    I wonder if the same people that are on here saying “its no big deal” with keep that same opinion IF the Heat were to lose to the Spurs and walk off without shaking their hands…

  11. doctordunkenstein - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    I wonder what this article and especially the comments would look like if the situation was reversed and LBJ was the one doing this…hint: he would get absolutely crucified. How do I know? It happened in 2009. Funny how it was a big deal then, but not so much now. Just another double standard for the King…

    • pglive21 - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      LeBron should not have gotten reamed for it then and West and Hibbert shouldn’t get reamed for it now. It’s a non-issue.

    • slimtherider2013 - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      You mean King FLOPPY ???

  12. mannyfresh209 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    As a logical person, I have zero problem with this. Especially with West, who put on Twitter some classy comments about Miami afterwards.

    As a person who’s listened to, watched and been extremely annoyed with those who claimed LeBron was a baby for not shaking hands with Orlando after their semi-finals matchup, yet have NO problem with either of these guys doing it…..I hate you all. Lol that’s all I wanted to say. Good day, sirs.

  13. money2long - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    i never cared whether players decided to shake hands.

    well, actually, there was only one time, but it was before a game. a lot of you will probably sympathize with me on this one. when shaq and kobe met for the first time, shaq’s first season with the heat. if i’m remembering correctly they embraced, in one of the most emotionless quick hugs. the kind your 1st grade teacher tells you to do as a symbol of peace after a fight you had with the kid who took your vanilla pudding, after you specifically told him you wanted it, and you found the stolen treat crushed in his bag after he put it down on the cafeteria bench and someone sat on it, causing it to leak thru his zipper.

    anyway, point is, i really just care how they treat one another during the game. however, while i respect hibbert’s explanation, i don’t necessarily see his logic as foolproof. handshakes at the end of series might just be part of the winning team’s moment. it’s a gesture of respect and acknowledgement. it’s not as if you’re trying to give a speech. now that would be taking away from their moment.

    other than that

  14. topdawg4ever - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Shaking hands at the end of a game is sportsmanlike and a gesture of respect. Of corse the losing team feels bad about losing, but it’s an acknowledgement of a game well played by bioth sides.

    The thing is, most fans will remember a bad sport.

  15. bnyce2000 - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    I still only know ONE player publicly reprimanded by the commish or fined for not shaking hands …LBJ …some phony fans, a lot of heat haters and other media only support this when it’s not LBJ …be consistent people …it’s starting to be obvious …I’m gonna go back and google this author and his take in 2009 when LBJ did it and see if he’s holding true

  16. mannyfresh209 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    There’s a reason the game of Golf, and not basketball, is called the gentlemen’s game!

    • elcapitanfiscal - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:56 PM

  17. condor75 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    If a man issues you a legit beat down, you could at least acknowledge and think wait to next time, but running off to the locker room still didnt change the fact they took a serious beating. What the hell does west know about old school?

  18. bengzki - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I don’t blame Hibbert for that, maybe its just not the right time because its his 1st time to be in a stage like this in where He and the Pacers had a chance to be in a finals and to be able to compete to win a championship but just came up short with 1 win.

    It doesn’t necessarily needed to be a handshake, maybe just a look and a nod to the players who got the best of you may do, because at the end of it all, every player has to live outside the court when all the games are done. Giving respect and being respected will always be the perfect validation.

  19. Dave M. - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    cuz he’s an idiot…. poor sportsmanship and shows no class. How you lose in defeat says a lot about someone’s character.

  20. trimaster1 - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    It’s just a sign of good sportsmanship to shake hands after a game. They do it after every sport. Even MMA fighters embrace after beating the crap out of each other. Football players kneel at the 50 and pray together.

    I remember the when the Lakers lost to the Bulls in 1991, Magic went to the Bulls LOCKER ROOM to congratulate the Bulls.

    Here’s a really cool pic of Payton Manning & Ray Lewis talking after The Ravens beat the Broncos this past season in the playoffs:

    Hibbard didn’t want to shake hands because he doesn’t like the Heat. That’s just my opinion, and I could never confirm that opinion because he’d never come out and say it. He’ll cuss on national tv, but he’ll never say that.

    It’s just good sportsmanship to congratulate the opposing player, win or lose.

  21. ktatwp - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Hold on. Lebron set the bar on behavior after getting kicked out of the playoffs, good folks. All you Hibbert haters have to be fair and hold everyone to the same standard.

    Lebron is a great winner. All smiles. Watch him after big losses. Not so great. Let’s not put him on a pedestal. Lebron is no Steve Nash. Steve has never won a championship and I have never seen him walk off the court. Hibbert will learn. I’ll take Steve Nash over Kobe or Howard or Lebron any day where class, manners, and gentlemanly behavior is concerned.

    Golf? Give me a break. You can make money and play golf until you’re 100 years old and have sponsors until you die. Add the fact that you have like 20 chances to win a tournament every year and your winning or losing is all dependent on youself and not on a teammate messing up. That’s why golfers are more accepting of a loss. Even still, golf has it’s share of trash talking, drama, and meltdowns. I’m sure it would be worse if so many rich guys weren’t watching and one could lose sponsorships for bad behavior. Golfers are only human too. They’re not emotionless.

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