by Marcel Mutoni

Starting last night and going into today, hoops fans (and particularly those who cheer for the Houston Rockets) are crying foul about the NBA’s decision not to suspend Kobe Bryant for tonight’s Game 3. And though they’re probably right, it doesn’t really matter.

This is the way the League has always dealt with its superstars, and will continue to do so in the future. They have a product to sell, and they can’t do it without their best salesmen.

The Houston media is fully aware of this, and some even have a sense of humor about it. From the Houston Chronicle:

Did you see how the Rockets played dirty? One minute, Ron Artest is throwing his throat at Kobe Bryant’s elbow. I mean, what if Kobe’s elbow had been injured. Wouldn’t that be awful?

Luis Scola did the same thing to Derek Fisher. Oh sure, it may have looked like Fisher was throwing the elbow. To see the play this way speaks volumes about your lack of understanding of the NBA.

Forget about it. Bryant got away with two cheap shots in Game 1, and he’ll get away with the one he threw in Game 2 as well. Besides, this series won’t be decided by the NBA proving it has a separate set of rules for Kobe Bryant. We already know that.

Here’s the bottom line: The League went easy on Bryant by not suspending him. He threw an elbow at Artest (any way you slice it), and probably shouldn’t be suiting up tonight. But he’s Kobe. Just like the NBA would’ve never – in a million years – suspended a LeBron, Jordan, Bird, or Isiah for a similar incident, they wouldn’t do the same to Kobe.

That’s just the way things work. And besides, no one ever said life was fair.