Kelly Olynyk has been doing shady things on the court for a long time now.
Like many NBA players, he has a signature move; unlike, say, the James Harden stepback, though, Olynyk’s involves trying to yank arms from shoulder sockets while falling down under the basket.
He infamously injured Kevin Love this way in 2015:
He’s done it since, too. Including the other night against Cleveland:
So it’s commin knowledge that Cavs fans hate Kelly Olynyk… ripped Love’s arm out from his shoulder, potentially costing the Cavs the 2015 NBA title.
Olynyk was dangerously closing to pulling a similar move on Jarrett Allen last night… pic.twitter.com/XBVl05o38M
— Brayden (@BraydenBallin) March 17, 2021
He pulled it again today (no pun intended) against Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, though the play wasn’t captured via video. You couldn’t see much from the broadcast angle anyway, and the Pacers broadcast only showed one brief replay, but the key moment is here:
Olynyk clearly hooks and holds Sabonis by the arm, yanking him to the floor. It’s just a completely pointless play except to try and hurt someone; Sabonis came up rubbing his shoulder and continued to as he made both free throws.
Olynyk, meanwhile, complained throughout, as though he hasn’t made a career out of doing things like this.
Olynyk tried to get Sabonis how he did Kevin Love when he dislocated his shoulder
— Gingerbeard Nick (@De_juan_) March 21, 2021
Very definition of unnecessary. Should have been a flagrant in my opinion.
— iPacers.com (@iPacersblog) March 21, 2021
Yeah. Not interested in that, but love that Domas isn’t backing down from Olynyk’s antics. https://t.co/Ej1JnwGFHd
— Jeremiah Johnson (@JJFSINDIANA) March 21, 2021
— Mark Schindler (@MSchindlerNBA) March 21, 2021
At least that one was called. Later, Olynyk pulled out another move from his “Everyone’s least favorite person to play pickup basketball with” arsenal, trying to draw a foul from Sabonis on a three-point attempt:
According to the league, this is a natural shooting motion by Olynyk or any 3p shooter. See their embarrassing justification on their Twitter feed. Sabonis avoids contact so it’s no call. But if he didn’t side step this would be called a foul on the defense 🙄 #PacersHeat pic.twitter.com/Uqlb90A0OU
— J. Michael (@ThisIsJMichael) March 21, 2021
That’s hilariously transparent, and while not as inherently dangerous as trying to perform orthopedic surgery on opponents, it’s still just an absurd action to take on the court, and it’s certainly not a “clean” play; similar to his constant flopping and phantomiming (a word I just invented when you create absurd theatrics to try and convince everyone you were actually fouled.)
(Sidenote: J. Michael is right, the NBA’s continued assertion that Olynyk’s move there counts as a “natural shooting motion” is completely embarrassing, and needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.)
Anyway, Olynyk has multiple dirty play compilations on YouTube for a reason.
In this case, he wasn’t rewarded, and the Pacers ended up winning in overtime, 109-106, meaning they swept Miami in their road back-t0-back series. Please fine Olynyk for the arm yank, NBA, before he hurts someone else!