10 NBA Refs Who Freaked Out On Players and Fans
During the Raptors-Blazers game Monday night, Amir Johnson and referee David Jones got into it after an awkward tug-of-war over rights to the basketball after a Portland free throw. It’s still unclear why Johnson felt the need to hold a dead ball in his hands, but once he pulled the ball away from Jones, Jones ejected him for it. Johnson then tossed his mouthpiece at Jones in his rage as he headed off the court. This isn’t the first time though that NBA refs have freaked out over what’s happening around them:
Crawford Goes Crazy
In the most infamous example of a ref asserting his power against the players, in 2007 Joey Crawford sent Tim Duncan to the showers for laughing…from the sidelines. It earned Crawford a suspension for the call, but Duncan also received a $25,000 fine for berating the refs during the game. Last week, a photo surfaced of Duncan pointing a gun at a Crawford-inspired dummy as part of a Halloween costume. So much for bygones.
Ref Don’t Lie
It’s one of the more hysterical small stories of the early part of the NBA season — Knicks’ grizzled vet Rasheed Wallace has been screaming out “Ball don’t lie” when opponents miss free throws after fouls he doesn’t believe were the right call. Well, one ref felt that Wallace had crossed the line and threw Wallace out of the game. Of course, this wasn’t Wallace’s first foray into referee-shaming. And it likely won’t be his last.
Not Doing Any Favors
Earlier this season, Utah’s Derrick Favors was ejected from a game after he hurled the ball toward the stands in a fit of frustration after a momentum-shifting call. Technically, the NBA has a rule against players throwing or kicking the ball toward the stands with any level of force. But this was one case where nobody should have felt threatened by the act. And one that probably shouldn’t have resulted in the Jazz losing a top player.
DeMarcus Cousins has been a bit of a loose cannon since he entered the league, playing with immense strength and ferocity. And sometimes it’s hard for a ref to judge whether Cousins has one too far with his shoving and posturing. After Cousins receives a first technical foul for the defensive pushing, he gets a second one while walking away from the ref. Cousins just submits to his fate and races for the tunnel.
Paul Pierce got himself tossed from a big playoff game last spring after he set a hard screen on Dwyane Wade which led to a double technical foul call, Pierce’s second T of the game. After the game, refs explained that the seemingly innocuous pick led to the overreaction because of the verbal taunting going on during the game, not the play itself. Still, with so much on the line, it’s probably best to let the guys settle their score themselves.
Hedo Turkoglu was another recipient of a fast whistle for saying something from the bench. Some say that Turkoglu must have shouted something cruel or a foreign epithet that refs have caught on to over time. Maybe refs have been instructed not to take it from any NBA players, foreign or not.
The Rondo Bump
During a playoff game between the 76ers and Bulls, one fan found himself with an early exit after ref Mark Davis had a quick whistle on some calls that didn’t go Philadelphia’s way. Davis was the subject of other controversy when Celtics’ guard bumped him in a playoff game of their own, earning him a visit to the lockerroom. In some cases, people understand why refs make the calls the way they do.
During a Warriors-Clippers game, a ref takes exception to a fan screaming out “the over,” referring to the gambling over/under line. It was enough to warrant the fan an ejection — and a stoppage in play — as security was called onto the court to escort the fan out of the game. There’s some speculation that the fan may have been intoxicated at the time and that was really what did him in. No matter, the under prevailed in the game as the 116-110 failed to beat the magic 218 number.
Even Kobe can lose his temper sometimes. But with 24 seconds left of a game that isn’t close, that’s not an ideal time for a ref to send a superstar off. We don’t know what Kobe said, but it’s clear that he is among those in shock that his behavior warranted such a severe punishment. Nevertheless, for a league that has been criticized for having different rules aimed at different players depending on their stature, this might have been the right call to make a statement.
‘Do You Want to Go?’
There’s asserting your influence and then there’s downright crazy. Ref Eric Dalen seems to be subscribing to the second part when he repeatedly says to Dirk Nowitzki “Do you want to go?” after ejecting him from a game. It looks and sounds like Dalen is challenging the Mavs’ star forward to a fight. Let’s just hope he meant “go” to the lockerroom.