Blake Griffin is tired of being pushed around, and vows to stand up for himself. Whatever that means.

Blake Griffin is tired of being pushed around, and vows to stand up for himself. Whatever that means.

An angry Blake Griffin said some angry things over the weekend, and we need to figure out where to go from here.

(An allegedly angry Blake Griffin also allegedly did some angry things over the weekend as well, but if the allegations are true, they seem totally justified – don’t be the doofus that bothers famous people by taking endless pictures of them at a club.)

Griffin has been a target for hard fouls for his entire pro career, partially as a result of his merely so-so free throw shooting, but mainly because he’s just much better than the men who guard him. On Friday evening, Utah Jazz reserve forward Trevor Booker attempted this maneuver:

This, as several outlets have noted, is not the first time Griffin has had his career put in jeopardy by hard fouls committed when the All-Star was prone. You can read whatever nonsense you want into players being jealous about Griffin’s fame or television commercial ubiquity as the impetus for these sorts of hits all you want, but you’d be off. The reason players foul Blake Griffin is because he makes them look silly by dunking on them. Griffin’s teammate Chris Paul is on our televisions far more often than Blake Griffin is shilling for insurance, he’s also a noted sourpuss (to put it mildly), and yet you don’t see people pushing him around this severely.

Like any other player, coach, team or executive that wants to throw off the scent in order to shape a narrative heading into 2014-15, Griffin has promised to retaliate. After the contest against the Jazz, to reporters, he discussed as much:

"It's more about standing up for yourself," he said. "There are times when hard fouls are just a part of the game, and then there's times when they're a little bit further than that."

One of the reporters at the scene, the Los Angeles Times’ Melissa Rohlin, was reminded of a Kobe Bryant quote from 2012, one that saw Kobe Bean putting himself in Griffin’s shoes:

After Robin Lopez clotheslined Griffin in 2012, Lakers' superstar Kobe Bryant weighed in on the conversation, saying that he would have responded with force.

"I'd smack the ... out of somebody," Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com in 2012. "I've known him for a while and he's a really nice guy so I don't know if he'd want to do that. But I would. I would've done it early in the year."

That’s just stupid, tough guy bluster.

Kobe Bryant has been taking hard fouls for years, and certainly took more than his fair share earlier in his career when he drove into the paint more often. He’s been in scrapes before, most notably with Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, but outside of one tussle with Chris Childs, he’s never smacked the anything out of anyone. And the Childs incident came after the Knick guard threw the first punch.

Kobe’s being the smart guy, in most instances, it should be noted.

Here’s the thing with punching people in the face – it messes up your hand. If you’re not used to getting into fights, or if you stupidly lead with your dominant hand, you can break your hand. Badly. And when you mess up your hand, to whatever degree, you miss basketball games – on top of the suspension the league will levy that will force you to serve after you return to the active list. The Clippers, with Paul and sound depth, are loaded. Blake Griffin, though, is the reason why they’re super-loaded, and a championship contender. In the West especially, they can’t afford to lose him.

I’m not averse to cold-cockin’ dudes, believe me. With that in place, the NBA does need to do something about this, much in the way a warning for one trespass for a particular player leads to a suspension the next time around. Blake Griffin doesn’t have the same guy fouling him flagrantly over and over; it’s just a series of guys, which makes a league-wide warning tough to pull off. Especially when it aligns with the stereotype that many observers have about the league protecting its stars ahead of the rank and file.

Stars get the treatment because they’ve earned it, though. James Harden gets to the free throw line more than the average player because James Harden is, well, more than the average player. Blake Griffin gets shoved or horse-collared or put into dangerous situations more than anyone else because he puts defenders in dangerous situations more than just about anyone else. What’s sickest is that – and I’m not calling Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder and his assistants a batch of cold-hearted cheats – the Jazz probably wouldn’t mind trading off a game or two without Trevor Booker just for the denial of one pivotal bucket. It’s just how this game works sometimes.

The NBA has done well to nearly eliminate needless fouls like these over the last 25 years. That’s a good thing, as players have evolved to a point where they can jump far higher and bound much faster than the generations that came before them. No disrespect intended, but knocking Dominique Wilkins or Michael Jordan to the floor in 1989 is not the same as knocking Blake Griffin (who could probably dunk his own head into the hoop) in 2014.

None of this is any fun, of course, and the answers won’t be easy to come by. DeAndre Jordan and Matt Barnes can’t afford to turn their hand bones into powder, either, or lose games due to suspension in Griffin’s “defense.” Again, I’m not saying a guy can’t go after someone that deserves it in real life, but in silly basketball terms, the NBA can’t have Blake Griffin thinking he needs to punch a combatant (or, more dangerously, perform the same sort of foul on the other end) in order to save himself from future flagrancy.

We like watching you play basketball, Blake Griffin, and don’t want to see you miss games. We understand it if you can’t keep your cool, but please try to.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!