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Four Instances When NBA Stars Beefed With Referees

Spencer Dinwiddie
Spencer Dinwiddie #26 of the Dallas Mavericks in action during a preseason game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena on October 14, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

KEY POINTS

  • Spencer Dinwiddie’s issues with Tony Brothers took centerstage this weekend
  • Other big-name NBA stars have had feuds with referees through the years
  • Draymond Green once called on the NBA to hire a new set of referees to manage the game

Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie is the latest NBA player to have an issue with the referees, but he is not the first to have issues with those officiating the game.

Here are some of the most notable ones in recent years.

Spencer Dinwiddie vs. Tony Brothers

ESPN’s Tim McMahon revealed that Spencer Dinwiddie was told by a Mavericks teammate that 27-year veteran official Tony Brothers referred to him as a “b—h ass motherf—ker” when he was given a technical foul in the second quarter during the game against the Toronto Raptors.

Head coach Jason Kidd said that he will have to speak with Dinwiddie about the incident because Brothers is “well-liked and also one of the best [referees] that we have” while also mentioning that the issue is a “sensitive topic.”

Brothers is yet to comment on the situation, but fans believe that he should be suspended and most came to the support of Dinwiddie.

Tony Brothers, NBA
Crew Chief Tony Brothers #25 looks on during the game between the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center on October 02, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Chris Paul vs. Scott Foster

The most popular player-versus-referee beef currently in the league now is the quibble between Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and rival referee Scott Foster.

Paul’s ill-will towards Foster dates back to his time with the Clippers all the way to his current stint with the Suns, having a 2-17 record in playoff games that Foster officiated, breaking his 12-game losing streak in Game 2 of the 2021 Western Conference Finals.

Much has been said about Paul’s issues with Foster and while fans have been joking about his record with Foster on the officiating crew, “The Point God” has never been shy about calling out Foster.

During his time with the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and now with the Suns, Paul made it known that Foster seems to have a vendetta against him in his eyes.

It should also be noted that Foster was on the officiating team for the Suns’ Game 6 loss in the 2021 NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Chris Paul, Scott Foster, NBA
Referee Scott Foster #48 listens to Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on March 27, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the 76ers 114-104.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Tim Duncan vs. Joey Crawford

The stoic Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs has only been ejected once in his NBA career, and it came at the hands of every NBA fans’ most dreaded referee in Joey Crawford.

On April 15, 2007, the Mavericks and Spurs were treating those watching to an exciting game of basketball despite it being the tail-end of the regular season as Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were still at the peak of their powers.

However, the biggest story to come out of that game was Crawford ejecting Duncan after the all-time great big man was sitting on the bench.

Crawford levied a technical foul against Duncan for arguing an offensive foul call while sitting on the bench, and the ejection happened after the Spurs big man was laughing with teammates which Crawford may have presumed was directed to him and sent Duncan to the showers.

Crawford was suspended for the rest of the season after the incident and Duncan got his championship ring during that season.

The 39-year official later admitted to his mistake and offered an apology to Duncan in 2016.

Tim Duncan, Joey Crawford, NBA
Tim Duncan (R) of the San Antonio Spurs tries to talk with offical Joe Crawford (C) as head coach Gregg Popovich (L) listens during their game against the Detroit Pistons during the first half of game three of the NBA Finals 14 June, 2005 at The Palace in Auburn Hill, Michigan. The Spurs lead the best-of-seven game series 2-0.
Jeff Haynes/AFP via Getty Images

Draymond Green vs. Everyone

Rounding out the list is one of the most vocal players in the NBA today when it comes to criticizing referees, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.

Green is not one to let his thoughts about officials silent as he had been on the receiving end of some questionable ejections throughout his career including one in January 2021 and another incident in March of this year.

Back in 2018, Green spoke with The Athletic’s Anthony Slater to talk about the players’ relations with the referees and claimed that it was “ruining the game.”

It even came to a point that he suggested that the NBA hire new referees, one without personal vendettas against the players.

During the 2022 NBA Finals which Green and the Warriors won, Green was issued a technical foul early in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics though remained competitive and physical throughout–as if he was daring the referees to eject him.

Green later said that he had earned deferential treatment due to past actions.

“There’s 100 percent ‘Draymond Green rules’. Evan Mobley did the same exact thing and kicked LeBron in the head, ain’t nobody talking about wanting to kick him out, ain’t nobody talking like it was [on] purpose,” Green said in a podcast appearance back in September referring to an incident involving Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley and LeBron James in March.

Green’s beef with the referees is not expected to abate anytime soon and will only grow as he continues in his search for his fifth ring.

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts during their game against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Chase Center on March 30, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images




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