Editorial February 16 2017

They were carefully chosen words.

They were very deliberately selected and clearly delivered with an intended purpose in mind.

The words were spoken by Adelaide 36ers guard and National Basketball League MVP Jerome Randle ahead of Thursday night’s semi final against the Illawarra Hawks in Adelaide.

"I just don't like them. I don't like the way they play basketball," Randle said on Tuesday referring to the Hawks.

"I don't like anything about none of the guys on the team. I'm just being honest.

"There's a lot of dirty players on the team, that is how they play - fight first, play basketball second."

Perhaps the intention was to get in the mind of the referees ahead of the game.

Certainly the Hawks have had more success at guarding Randle than any other team of the league but to suggest they do so illegally is nothing short of disgraceful. The Hawks play hard, but fair.

It’s likely to little do little in terms of rattling the tenacious Illawarra Hawks guards and Randle’s comments made it to the Illawarra very quickly. They were not well received.

It became clear on social media the Illawarra fans would be preparing a very warm welcome for Mr Randle when the Adelaide 36ers come to the WIN Entertainment Centre on Sunday for game two of the semi final series.

Even the Illawarra Hawks' owner James Spenceley weighed into the fight on Twitter, advising Jerome to save the tears and let actions on the court do the talking. Others were less subtle.

“You're gunna COP IT BIG TIME on Sunday Randle,’’ one Facebook commenter said.

“I think that warrants booing each time he touches the ball,” another suggested.

The natives are not happy and the Adelaide 36ers and their star player better be prepared to walk into a cauldron on Sunday. Tickets are already selling fast and it’s going to be awfully loud.

Despite what many of the experts predicted, the Illawarra Hawks are again part of another NBL finals series and have as good a shot as anyone at taking home the national title.

Make sure you get on board on Sunday and if you are at the WEC make sure you make your voice heard.

Let’s given the visiting team a nice Illawarra welcome.

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