The brand is strong with Dillon Brooks. He helped turn the Memphis Grizzlies into a contender, and for his services, he got thrown out of a window like Axel Foley.
This past offseason, he inked a 4-year, $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets, who were a team desperate to reach the salary floor. If Brooks spent this past summer working on his likability and sportsmanship, that all went up in smoke less than five minutes into his first preseason game with the Rockets.
They were at home against the Indiana Pacers. Daniel Theis set a high screen on Brooks, who responded with a fist right into Theis’ mommy-daddy button. A low blow that resulted in an ejection before the first time he was subbed out in the preseason. The situation is both hilarious and appalling.
After the game, Brooks denied any intent in making contact with Theis’ nether regions. He also lamented being ejected, claiming he was simply maximizing his effort on the basketball court while somehow accidentally swinging into the sweet spot, below the belt, while trying to get around a pick. Usually getting around a screen doesn’t require sending a fist to an opposing player’s nether region.
The irony of this ejection is that since he was playing in a preseason game, no statistic, or moment, should have had any bearing on his future. Not his stats, not whether the Rockets won or lost, and whatever tape he put out certainly was not going to dictate his regular-season playing time. The only numbers/results that will stick to Brooks from that game is the fine the NBA will levy for his shot below the belt. That number will stick to him the same as the nearly $300,000 he was cumulatively fined in 2022-23.
Reports shortly after the Grizzlies were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers last season were that Brooks would not be returning to Memphis, “under any circumstances.” He was suspended twice last season for exceeding the NBA’s technical foul limit. Brooks also contributed greatly to the Grizzlies’ demise against the Lakers by shooting 23.8 percent from the 3-point line on seven attempts per game.
A player who acts out regularly and shoots his team out of games. It’s no wonder the Grizzlies were through with him. His final act on the team was receiving a fine for leaving the arena after Game 6 without talking to the media. The Grizzlies lost that game by 40 points, eight days after — in reference to LeBron James — Brooks said, “I don’t respect no one until they come and give me 40.”
I guess since he didn’t take his medicine after that thrashing, there was no lesson to be learned from an embarrassment he chose not to sit through. To come out of the gate literally swinging this preseason makes Brooks a character born out of an NBA comic book. A player with a chip on his shoulder gets ejected from the first game with his new team, and therefore reestablishes a “tough guy” persona.
A low blow before the quarter break in his first preseason is legendary stuff from Brooks — regardless of his claims about how/where his fist landed. Combine his explanation with the actual act, along with his history in the NBA, and this ejection in no way paints him as a premium badass. He actually comes off as infantile and pathetic.
This is the way he makes his debut with a new team. A game that shouldn’t have even been considered his actual debut since it wasn’t a regular-season contest. Only people who are associated with the Rockets and cover that team or the Pacers were intent on noticing his performance last night. Instead, he made news around the NBA for his best skill. Not for being an all-defensive team caliber player, but instead for boorish antics.
At least now Brooks has a lot more money to waste on fines from the league office. It’s just incredible, though, that in less than five minutes of preseason action, Brooks displayed exactly why his services were no longer wanted in Memphis.