Rashard Lewis refuses to enter game

Per the Orlando Sentinel

Controversy brewed during the Orlando Magic’s 120-111 loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night when power forward Rashard Lewis said he declined to go back in the game during the second quarter.

Coach Stan Van Gundy was upset and said he had never had a player overrule him.

“(Lewis) didn’t want to go back in. I wanted to put him back in with six minutes to go in the second quarter and he didn’t want to go back in,” Van Gundy said after the Magic (17-5) had their six-game winning streak broken. “He said it was because he had two fouls, and so if you have a guy who doesn’t want to play, I’m not going to get in an argument and put him back in if he doesn’t want to play at that time.

He said, `I’m going to back in and be out in three or four minutes and Ryan (Andersonn) is playing good.’

“I didn’t have time to get into it. It’s rare and I’ve never had that in the first half of a game. I was a little baffled by it.”

Lewis confirmed the story, but said that he wasn’t being defiant. He already had two fouls and he thought that his replacement, Ryan Anderson, was playing really well.


But Lewis surely sounded defiant during a rambling stream of consciousness, saying Van Gundy sort of pointed the finger at him as the Magic’s 18-point lead shrank in the period.

“(Van Gundy) wasn’t pissed at the time,” said Lewis of declining to report in at Van Gundy’s request. “But he was pissed when they started making a run. You got to point the finger at something if that’s what you got to point it at. Hey, I don’t give a damn.”

Van Gundy agreed that Lewis wasn’t being defiant and even said he probably thought he was being “unselfish.” But the coach was not pleased and said he wasn’t going to send someone back in a game “that wasn’t in the right frame of mind.”

Lewis said he didn’t feel that he and Van Gundy are at odds.

“I didn’t really get it. Frustrated or whatever … To be honest, I think he thought he was being unselfish,” Van Gundy said. “Ryan was playing well. But to me, Ryan had played enough minutes at that point, 12 to 13 straight and that’s enough because a guy is going to run out of gas.”

This just goes to show you how the relationship between player and coach in the NBA is so much different than in any other level in basketball. If I would have pulled this when I played for Bo Ryan, he would have had a heart attack. I might as well start decorating his dog house, because that’s where I’d be living for the next few months.

Lewis was being unselfish, but by not listening to Van Gundy, he showed a general lack of respect for his coach’s decision. He had his team’s best interests at heart, and that’s commendable, but when your coach tells you to go in the game, you go in the game.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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