Officiating has been a huge conversation this season in the NBA. Players have complained about how referees have treated them all season long, and we have had a couple big incidents over the course of the season. However, the memory span is short in the NBA and during these NBA Finals we’ve only been somewhat reminded of the league’s officiating problems during the first two games.
Nevertheless the NBRA — the ref’s union — still feels as though they were coming under attack enough that they had to make a statement during these pivotal moments of the NBA postseason. Their response, presumably a response to cries of poor officiating, is an announcement that the NBRA will be live tweeting Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The NBRA says they will watch the game and respond with reactions to the game and presumably give explanations to whistles.
The announcement came via a tweet on the official account of the NBRA, which referenced NBA Twitter by name, a move that does seem a little bit reactionary to the conversation online being led by fans.
Of course there has been a concerted effort by the referees to help amend their image over the last part of the season. Even recently, a story on ESPN by Kevin Arnovitz went in-depth on how officials make their calls during the culmination of the season. It’s a good read if you haven’t checked it out, but the move to live tweet the game on social media is sort of an odd one if you ask me.
There’s pretty much no way this goes well for the NBRA. If the officials make a bunch of obviously bad calls and try to defend them on Twitter, the online community will roast them. If the game is uneventful, it will be hard to spice up and add appreciation of officials for fans watching the game.
I also think there is something to be said about hoping that some kind of informational campaign about the referees and the toughness of their job will help influence the middle of the bell curve when it comes to online fans. Some people just aren’t open to hearing that kind of rational talk, which sort of comes with the territory of both being a fan and when your emotions fly without restraints during a sporting event.
More explanation is good, and kudos to the NBRA for trying even if it is reputation management. It’s a big swing to live tweet a game and explain calls, however. Let’s hope it goes well for them.
LeBron James is a smart man, one who knows what his empire is built upon:
And him being better than anyone else in the world at it.
While his post-career life is in Los Angeles — his production company has “The Wall” on NBC, is in the early stages of putting together an NBC comedy about the family life of Ben Simmons, is producing “The Shop” on HBO, is making “Space Jam 2” with LeBron as the star, and more — do not suggest to LeBron that might get in the way of basketball.
“I’m a basketball player. I play ball, that’s what I do,” LeBron said earlier in his press conference. “That’s what I live by and when I do it at the level I do it at everything else takes care of itself.
“As far as my business, those things have been taking care of themselves long before I came out here to be part of the Lakers franchise.”
LeBron is right about that. His production company — led by Maverick Carter — has been working on Space Jam for a couple of years now, and if LeBron had decided to stay in Cleveland or sign in Philadephia or anywhere else that project would still be going forward. They’d still be filming next summer in the off-season, regardless of where he played.
LeBron is very good at compartmentalizing his life. The great ones are. Kobe Bryant had side projects, but it never slowed down the effort he put into the game. Same is going on right now with Stephen Curry and James Harden. Michael Jordan did it before them, and Magic Johnson before him. Those guys have brands that are empires of their own now, but they all know what the foundation of that success is.
And they don’t let anything get in the way of basketball. Not like that.
The Knicks season should be about laying a foundation. They’ll remain patient with their best player, Kristaps Porzingis, returning from injury. They said they won’t trade draft picks.
But they’ve also paid enough lip service to competing this season to, um, excite Enes Kanter.
We’ll be sure to check in on the softness of Kanter’s nipples when the Knicks miss the playoffs by dozens of games.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor reportedly ordered team president Tom Thibodeau to trade Jimmy Butler, who is excused from participating in media day and training camp (apparently because of his hand injury).
But Thibodeau isn’t rushing to proclaim Butler will be dealt.
Chris Hine of the StarTribune:
Kent Youngblood of the StarTribune:
If Butler isn’t traded in the next week, this could get incredibly awkward. Would Butler report? If he does, how would Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins each react?
I expect this to be moot. The odds are stacked highly in favor of Minnesota dealing Butler soon.
But, now, there’s a close deadline with even more drama looming on the other side.
The Lakers’ front office insists they’re trying to beat the Warriors.
Los Angeles’ newest star, LeBron James, isn’t there yet.
“We’ve got a long way to go to get to Golden State,” LeBron said. “They can pick up right where they left off.
“We’re picking up from scratch. So, we have a long way to go. … Hopefully, someday, we can put ourselves in a position where we can compete for a championship, as Golden State has done for the last few years.”
How will LeBron – who has won three titles in the last seven years and reached the NBA Finals the last eight years – react if the Lakers aren’t on that level this season?
“I don’t believe the only thing of success in marking a season is winning a championship,” LeBron said. “There’s only one champion. But that doesn’t mean you’re not successful.”
LeBron has made similar arguments before, and I agree with him. Championships are the most important measure of team success, but they’re not the only measure. There are plenty of ways for teams to satisfactorily grow and compete in a season.
But this sure didn’t sound like the same LeBron who said in June of the Cavaliers’ 2016 title, “It made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships, and I still want to be in championship mode.” A key storyline in Los Angeles will be whether/when LeBron regains that hunger.