Let me first say I have the utmost respect for NBA Commissioner David Stern. He has done a fantastic job promoting and running the league since he has been in charge. But, as a basketball fan I feel this needs to be said. I have been watching the NBA Playoffs all the way through this year, as I have every year even when my beloved Trail Blazers are not part of it. What I’ve noticed in just about every game with a high profile team, be it Los Angeles, Boston, Phoenix or Cleveland, has had a huge disparity in the way fouls are called and assessed. Now, before I move on I understand that it’s not right to blame a loss, especially a loss by my favorite team on the officiating. But sometimes it gets to be a little much.
In the Portland-Phoenix game the other night, even the TNT broadcast team who historically bashes the Trail Blazers just about every chance they get, marveled at the fact that the Blazers just could not get to the foul line no matter how many times Andre Miller got mauled on a drive, or Brandon Roy got hacked trying to pass out of a double team. Then came The Call. The call that Blazer’s Edge, a popular Portland basketball blog, tore limb from limb. Joey Crawford called a foul on Portland center Marcus Camby, saying that he grabbed Phoenix’s star point guard Steve Nash by the neck.
If you watch the video on Youtube or if you remember this game, you’ll recall Camby was not even within arm’s length of Nash. Unless the guy is secretly Plastic Man and can stretch his arms around two Blazers and another Sun to seize Nash by the neck, this was a rotten call. Even Nash knew it as he seemed to imply that he shouldn’t be taking free throws for that kind of foul.
Furthermore, I am getting a little tired of the flop. You know what I’m talking about—it’s where if a player feels the slightest bit of contact by his defender, he flails his arms, goes to the ground and gets the call. I don’t even like it when Portland’s players do it because it’s simply a cheap move to draw a foul. The officials need to do a better job of knowing what is a flop and what is a real foul, either that or threaten to assess technical fouls to anyone caught flopping.
Finally, and this is what drives me the craziest, is that David Stern recently came out and threatened suspensions and fines to players and coaches who continue to rightfully criticize bogus officiating. I say to David Stern that this criticism is necessary.
If the officials don’t want to hear it, they should do a better job. If you call something against one team, call it against the other team. Don’t call a foul for Carmelo, Dwayne, Dwight, Kobe, or LeBron. See what you call, call what you see, and above all, be fair. Enough with the make-up calls too. Either call something or don’t, it sets a bad precedent to follow one bad call with several equally bad or worse calls to make the victimized player or coach feel better.
There. I said it. I feel better now. Commissioner, I’m sorry you had to read this. My $35,000 check is in the mail.
You may contact William James at firstname.lastname@example.org