The Cavs – Knicks game goes int he “tankapalooza” category with two teams in the Zion hunt chasing that top draft pick – so not a League Pass game. At 6:57 to go in the game, Larry Nance Jr. was called for a flagrant one on Noah Vonleh. By the look on his face, you could see Nance did not agree with the ref’s call.
After Vonleh missed his free throw, Nance got up and yelled “Ball don’t lie!!” while clapping his hands. This moment allows us to go into our basketball dictionary and check out the origin of the phrase.
The author is one Rasheed Abdul Wallace, a man who holds three prominent records in the NBA – most career technical fouls, most technical fouls in a season, and most ejections in a season. His relationship with the refs is legendary and what characterized a lot of time was an underappreciated sense of humor. One of the times a ref called a foul on him, it just popped in his head:
It just so happened I felt this one ref called a BS call on me, and the guy went to the line. It was nothing personal against him, he went to the line and shot that first one and it went “clung” and it just came out “BALL DON’T LIE!!”
Sheed used it a lot later in his career, and it became a basic staple of any game. A sense of basketball karma, if the ref “lied” with the call, the ball won’t. Pickup, high school, college or the pros, you can hear it everywhere.
This is an example of a player outing his frustration in a funny way, not confronting the ref directly – you’d say not problematic from an officiating perspective. While refs do have the right to demand a certain level of respect, we often see them being too sensitive to any kind of challenge from players. One of Rasheed’s many technicals happened because of his trademark phrase.
He fouled Scola twice on the same move, to make sure he doesn’t get an and-1. The ref told him the second foul is an automatical tech – an explanation Rasheed did not agree with. So when Dragic missed the technical free throw, Sheed let it be known karma was in the building. The refs called a second tech on him for it, and he was ejected from the game.
He may have deserved many of his techs and ejections, but this one was a 100% out of line. Don’t worry Sheed; history don’t lie as well.