NBA Asks YouTube to Pull Brawl Clips

An old friend from high school sent me a link to a story he’d written about Nate Robinson for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. But his lede was uncannily prescient:

With his role in the brawl at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Nate Robinson continues his quest to be the most YouTube-worthy player in the NBA. A fan-created music video of the 2006 Slam Dunk contest, won by Robinson, is the site’s most-viewed basketball video. Robinson’s block of Yao Ming is probably the single most-watched play of this NBA season. And by now you’ve seen him rolling around the Garden floor with Denver’s J.R. Smith.

First, the brawl at the Garden was viewed more times than the block of Ming by Robinson, and it seems that the NBA has asked YouTube to pull the clip in an example of brand image management.


Or perhaps it’s a bit of bad-news censorship by selective copyright enforcement — since the NBA seems to have no problem with the hundreds of other clips hosted on YouTube featuring dazzling athletics and otherwise sportsmanlike behavior.

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Liz pointed out that slightly edited versions of the same clip still abound, as well as some user videos that don’t use NBA footage. Until the NBA and its lawyers catch up, it looks like Nate Robinson’s reign over YouTube basketball highlights is secure.


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