Kevin Garnett got tossed last night for something said in a conversation with the referee during a technical foul shot. Well away from the play. Two techs right on top of one another.
As you might imagine, old-school Celtics broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn was not a fan (thanks to Mike Prada of SBN for finding the video).
“This is stupid! Believe me this is going to happen during the regular season and, this is absolutely, NBA it’s stupid.
Don’t quote me on that.”
Some of the complaining about calls in NBA games certainly had been excessive, but the motives for the change on the league’s side show why the swing has been so extreme.
You know where this is coming from with the league, right? The same mindset that came up with the dress code — to be able to sell the game better to the rich, mostly corporate people that purchase the luxury boxes and expensive seats that drive the league’s economics now. People that don’t take that kind of complaining from their employees (who just do it behind their backs) and don’t think it belongs on the court. (Those people are mostly white, you can inject some race discussion into this, but I’m not qualified or able to do so well enough to walk that line. You’re on your own there.)
The NBA wants to be able to sell the game better to the less urban. The red states. Focus groups told the league there was too much complaining by players, so here you go. Technicals for everyone.
The good news is that by Christmas the pendulum will have swung back to a more sane middle ground. Where a player who throws his arms up in the air and runs toward the referee to complain gets the technical, but the guy standing at halfcourt having a conversation does not. (Note, we don’t know what Garnett said, he may have used magical language that earned this, but it still seems over the top.)
But right now, it does look stupid. And with all there is to talk about in this sport, we are talking about the referees. Again.