Joey Crawford, Ed Malloy and Ken Mauer are your referees for Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night.
Spurs fans just freaked out a little. They shouldn’t, but they are. I get why they are not happy — Crawford is the referee who threw Tim Duncan out of a game in 2007 for laughing. Seriously. Duncan was fined for the incident but Crawford was suspended for the rest of the NBA season “improper conduct and a lack of professionalism.” Duncan said at the time Crawford has a personal vendetta against him. The Spurs went on to win the NBA title that year.
Here is why Spurs fans should not be freaked out: No referee is more willing to make calls against the home team in big games than Crawford. He seems to almost enjoy it, making exaggerated calls that enrage fans and coaches. He is more likely to call stuff on the Heat tonight than any other official in the league.
Also, LeBron has fouled out of two playoff games in his entire career, both with Crawford as the referee.
I’d like to say I hope the referees are not part of the story tonight. I’m not optimistic, but I hope that is the case.
76ers on blocking anthem singer wearing ‘WE MATTER’ jersey: ‘We use our games to bring people together’
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
This is a continuation of Carmelo Anthony‘s argument: The emphasis should be on action in communities and there’s no longer a place for gestures like Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
But this needn’t be an either/or discussion. Community-based action is obviously important (though don’t assign responsibility to NBA players to fix racism). Recognizing the width and depth of the problem is necessary – which is why symbols matter, too.
Take Street’s shirt at face value. “We matter.” “Black lives matter.” What’s so offensive about that? There is no implicit “more” attached.
Yet, the 76ers found it antithetical to their brand.
Is that what players were demonstrating on behalf of during the preseason? I’m sure that arena was much more united with a 76ers dancer singing the anthem than it would have been with Streeter spotlighted. But sometimes divisiveness is necessary to advance a cause.
If the 76ers don’t want Streeter using their platform to say “WE MATTER,” that’s their right. Not everyone has to support that choice, though.
Sevyn Streeter says 76ers prevented her from performing national anthem due to ‘WE MATTER’ jersey
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.