There is just nothing good about this story.
Former NBA (and recent college hoops) referee Troy Raymond was found dead due to suicide — a gunshot wound to the head — in a New Orleans hotel just hours after police had found his wife dead in the couple’s Houston area home, according to CBS Sports.
Raymond had spent one season in the NBA but was not brought back after 2004 when it was discovered he lied on his resume (he said he had been an Air Force pilot and had played on Colorado’s national championship football team). He had been refereeing college basketball since then (much of it in the Sun Belt Conference).
Sources told CBSSports.com that Leslie Anderson Raymond had recently asked for a divorce — and Raymond had also been informed by one coordinator of officials that he would not be re-hired to work games next season.
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of both Troy and Leslie.
Lamar Odom is in the majority, at least when NBA players seem to fall on the new technical rules.
He got one Saturday night — he was called for fouling Sacramento’s Carl Landry in the act, and Odom stood there for a few seconds with his arms straight up indicating he didn’t do anything. Three seconds later, technical.
Odom was of two minds on the call. One is that he really doesn’t get why the league has taken calling technicals to an extreme, as he told ESPNLosAngeles.
“It’s kind of crazy because that’s what people love to see. You watch the commercials and the NBA has dunking, [players making] faces and ‘Where Amazing Happens,'” Odom said. “Now it’s like ‘Where Normal Happens.’ … There’s nothing amazing about not showing emotion.”
But the one thing Odom likes less than the calls is writing checks for fines. So he’ll conform.
“You have to zip it,” Odom said. “If they call you for a tech, it’s $2,000. That’s a lot of money in America or anywhere. I don’t want to give away $2,000 for going, ‘Damn, I thought I had the ball!’ or showing emotion. I want to keep my money, point blank.”
This seems to be prevailing sentiment among players — they may not like it but the NBA has the hammer of fines so they will fall in line as best they can.
By a couple months into the season the pendulum will swing to a more normal middle ground. One where a guy throwing up his arms and screaming at a ref does get the T, but a guy standing their for a couple seconds with his arm up is just ignored.
Grant Hill and Reggie Evans got ejected from a preseason game last night for patting each other on the butt. Seriously.
It may be the worst ejection we can remember in the NBA. Referee Bill Kennedy is in mid-season overreaction form.
It happened while the Raptors were blowing the Suns out of the building Wednesday night (don’t read anything into that, it’s preseason). Follow this link to DailyMotion to see the video, but here’s what happened.
The play before there had been a little standing next to each other and jawing between Suns and Raptors players, particularly Hill and Evan. Nothing too malicious but the refs gave both the “hey let’s calm down everybody” double technical. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Then when the ball comes in bounds it ends up with Hill in the mid-post defended by Evans, so Hill tries to go to the quick spin move around him. Hill is bumped and slips to the floor. Hill gets up and — as athletes in every sport do all the time — he patted Evans behind. Evans tapped him back harder, so Hill turned and gave Evans one more solid tap.
Technical. And an ejection by Kennedy. Evans and Hill walk off laughing, the crowd booing the ref first then cheering the two players.
The twitter timeline for NBA people at the game — such as Holly McKenzie — lit up with “are you kidding me” posts just like the announcer on the video did. With good reason. We’re in the preseason and we may already have the worst ejection of the season. Kennedy has a quick trigger, but this is really outdoing even himself.
While NBA referees have been instructed to call touch fouls on the perimeter, the game inside the paint is as physical as ever. Strong centers who play through the contact get beat on in ways that would send smaller guards flying to the floor. The guards get those calls, the centers only sometimes.
That frustrates Dwight Howard, who seemed to take the lack of calls as a sign of personal disrespect — and he let the referees know about it. Last season Howard picked up 15 regular season technical fouls (one short of the number that gets you suspended for a game) mostly for complaining to officials.
This season, the NBA has said it is cracking down on complaining — things like throwing your fists in the air after a call or showing the ref how you got hacked will get you a technical. And the fines for that will be doubled, too.
Message received. Howard says he is going to mellow out. Or at least stop showing his emotions so much, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“I’ll be fine,” Howard said. “My teammates have asked me to do a better job of not getting frustrated, not showing so much frustration.”
Easier said than done. But Howard is at least saying it.
It will also be interesting to see how the NBA’s crackdown plays out over time — the league often says it is cracking down on something at the start of the season only to have everything back to normal by the All-Star break.
As Rashard Lewis points out, the other interesting part will be what the referees do at the end of close games when emotions are high.
“You put your hands in the air after a charging call and they call a tech? That’s like taking the game away from you,” he said.
We now know it is a two-step process to try and reduce arguing with referees about calls.
Step one we learned last week, that NBA referees have been instructed to put up with no guff and give a technical to anyone who makes an “overt gesture” to question a call.
Step two — hit them in the pocket book.
The NBA is doubling the standard fines that go with various offenses, as reported by Associated Press.
For the first five technicals a player (or coach) gets it is $2,000 each. The second five set you back $3,000 each, while 11-15 mean you write a $4,000 check. Get technical numbers 16, and you are suspended one game (and get suspended again for every two techs after that) and each one costs $5,000.
This will be good for NBA charitable causes (which is where the fine money goes), we’ll see if it is good for the on-court product.