I have come to the conclusion that the NBA is a league that takes itself way too seriously in the image department. For years they’ve been trying to tone down one of the most important thing in sports, emotions and it’s kind of sickening how they are doing it as well. Players used to get technical fouls for “showing up” the refs after a call they didn’t agree with because the NBA somehow had to protect their refs from verbal slander. They gave the refs the authority to call a technical on players who “were out of line”. They since then toned it down because it became increasingly frustrating to watch the games because it felt that the refs were the meal ticket, and not the players. That’s just a small history of it in recent memory, but let’s gets to the reason I’m writing this article, the NBA does not like trash talking as much as the NFL does not like after Touch Down celebrations.
Miami Heat, a team that gets a ton favourable calls all the time had their tables turned on them last season when LeBron James said that he understood why players would flop, he said, “Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage. Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it.” The league didn’t like that statement, and they turned against him and fouled him out in game 4 last year in the playoffs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_18Ooxi2lo). Before that, LeBron James was not known to even commit a foul and even went two weeks without committing one, but they foul him out in game 4 of the playoffs?
There was also a time; two years ago I believe when Frank Vogel, coach of the Indiana Pacers called the Miami Heat the biggest floppers in the NBA right before the series started, by the end of the first quarter, all of the starters had 2 fouls each, were they actual fouls, maybe, but how can you not see the politics in this?
Right before game 4 again this season, Lance Stephenson said LeBron’s on court trash talking is a sign of weakness, the result came with Stephenson getting 3 early foul calls and taken out the game, and another reason for NBA experts to tell him to keep his mouth shut. It’s not like he played like crap because of his trash talking, it was because the NBA didn’t like his trash talking comments in the media. You can’t have a good game by sitting on the bench, it’s like they were teaching him a lesson. It may be part of the NBA policy, but I’m not a player so I can’t confirm that they have sent a memo out.
Last example, Doc Rivers, after his team lost to the Thunder called out the refs and said his team was robbed of the victory. The NBA came out and said that the refs’ decision to give OKC the ball was the right move (which wasn’t if you look at the tape) and fined him $25,000. The Clippers were also on the wrong side of the refs during the next game which resulted in a lot of questionable calls down the stretch ending their season. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dENg8C9d5WQ)
The moral of the story, the NBA feel that it pays its players a lot of money to be professional, but the minute you deviate from that script, you will be punished. The Pacers were able to take the Heat to 7 games last season because they never complained, this season, they did a lot of complaining, and are now down 3-1 to the Heat, poor performances did contribute to that, but no matter how the numbers looked, the NBA made sure that the referees got involved to keep them complaining. It’s all psychological, if NBA players would learn to shut up and give the right post game answers to the media without the trash talk and the complaining, they can remain on the good side of the NBA.
That’s all folks
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