But Doncic wasn’t the only Dallas player to draw Gobert’s ire.
The Utah center was also bothered by some Mavericks deep reserves – and the referees not cracking down on them.
“There’s a lot of things being said that wouldn’t be said outside a basketball court. A lot of things I don’t say,” Gobert explained. “I’m not perfect, but I don’t say things to guys that I wouldn’t tell them to their face outside the locker room. It’s a lot of talk.”
“The officials have got to get to a point where they check — on both sides — that no lines have been crossed, verbally or with actions,” he said. “There was a lot of things being said out there. At some point, we’re men, too. My thing is, I’ve gotta keep my mind in the right place. My team needs me in the game.
“You’ve got guys on the bench that don’t play that just keep talking and saying some stuff, and the officials can hear and they don’t do anything. As a man, it’s like, is it worth being suspended? We shouldn’t have to ask ourselves that question,” Gobert continued. “[The refs] have to do a better job keeping that in check. It’s actions, but the words carry weight. If someone is disrespected, at some point, as men, we’re gonna ask ourselves: Do we want to stay on the court, or penalize our team and stand up for ourselves? I usually take the first option.”
This fits into the larger discussion of what is and isn’t acceptable to say to and about NBA players.
Bench players shouldn’t have carte blanche to say whatever they want toward the floor. They should also have some room to talk trash.
Without knowing what these Dallas players said, it’s impossible to evaluate whether Gobert’s complaint is reasonable.
Gobert is right: His team needs him in the game. He can’t control what opponents say to him or how referees officiate it. He can control his own actions. And, to his credit, he didn’t respond inappropriately.
But by acknowledging how the words got to him and complaining about officials not cracking down, Gobert definitely opens the door for more jeering from opposing benches.