Only twice since leaving Duke can I remember Hawks guard Dahntay Jones being relevant in the NBA and creating headlines. Both involved a dirty play against Kobe Bryant. The first was in the Western Conference Finals between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Jones intentionally tripped Bryant as he was going towards the paint to attempt a rebound. The most recent incident happened last Tuesday, late in a game between the Lakers and the Hawks.
With five seconds left in the game and the Lakers trailing by two points, it was Bryant and Jones going at it once again. This time, Bryant took one of his patented fadeaway jumpers from the baseline. He missed the shot and landed on Jones’ foot because he had nowhere else to land. Jones walked underneath Bryant, got into his landing area and Kobe had no chance to return to the floor safely. That wasn’t good defense by Jones. It was a foul, it should have been called a foul and it was a dirty play, something that has become expected with Dahntay Jones.
Dahntay Jones joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about his play at the end of the Hawks-Lakers game that injured Kobe Bryant, what the etiquette is for a defender when an offensive player takes a jumper, what he makes of the NBA saying they would have called a foul during that play, his history with Kobe Bryant, whether he has tried to reach out to Bryant since the incident, and whether he is surprised by the amount of attention the play has received.
His take on the play that injured Kobe Bryant:
“It’s the same take as it was after the game. I just tried to make the best basketball play possible. At that point in time, my role was to try to get a stop for our team and I just tried to get close enough to contest the shot and try to make him see a body instead of having a wide open look at the basket.”
What the etiquette is when a player goes up for a jumper:
“To not walk directly under and I think that’s the reason why they took the leg kick rule out because now you don’t have a gauge of what’s under and what’s not. That leg kick creates space that is a disadvantage for everybody.”
On the NBA saying they would have called a foul on that play:
“That’s their judgement. I have nothing to do with that. All I did was the best I could’ve at that time. (Host: Does it change your perspective?) Not at all. If they would have called a foul during the game I’d have to have stuck with it. I wouldn’t have gone out of control but I just did my best job at that point in time. The leg kick is what created all the contact in a situation like that.”
On his history with Kobe Bryant:
“We really don’t have a history. We had two incidents that happened in a playoff series but there have been many games in between there where nothing has happened, period. I have a lot of respect for him, his career and what he’s done. I don’t have any problems with him at all.”
It sounds like there is a little more to this with Kobe talking about Revenge, doesn’t it?
“He’s a competitor and I guess in this situation he feels like he was wronged and he is upset about it. There’s no bad blood and there haven’t been any situations where we have gotten into it in any manner, except for the one incident in the Western Conference Finals.”
Have you tried to reach out to him directly?
“I don’t have his phone number or a way to get to him, but I did hit him on social media and let him know that I have the utmost respect for him and it wasn’t on purpose.”
On how surprised he is with all the reaction this play has received:
“I was very surprised because it took a lot of attention away from a great team win that the Hawks had. How hard guys played, being down, not having a lot of our players and we played a great 48 minutes. One play should never take away from a great, well-rounded game.”