Written by: Emily Wilson
We’ve all been hearing about it, and seeing the early effects of it while watching preseason games. The NBA is cracking down on the antics of players who whine, flail or otherwise react how the league deems inappropriately to referees’ in-game decision making.
According to an ESPN.com article, during the first 59 exhibition games this year, referees doled out 69 technical fouls. Along with the new sensitivity comes increased financial burden and suspensions for every two technical fouls beyond 15. This move to crack down on whiners is said to be for the fans. League officials referenced an audience poll, which yielded the results that fans don’t want to see or hear NBA players whining and complaining.
And while there are moments when the excessive groans or outlandish antics of certain players grow tiresome, there are far more times when the passionate responses to plays and calls are not only entertaining, but vital to a game so dependent on (and as Lamar Odom points out here, marketed on the basis of) emotion.
Odom has already received a technical foul under the sharpened rule. In an exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings on October 13, he left his hand in the air after being called for a foul. Because it was up for longer than three seconds, he got a technical, even while his gesture was non-directed and his mouth closed.
As is the case for many NBA rosters, the Lakers one is full of emotional players. Three notables are Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom, all of whom were among the top 20 in NBA players receiving technical fouls last season. Kobe had 14, Barnes had 10, and Odom had 9.