When Shaquille O’Neal cursed out David Stern and the refs on national TV

When Shaquille O’Neal cursed out David Stern and the refs on national TV

All the biggest stars said it; the NBA is going forward with the All-Star game for only one reason. – chasing the almighty dollar. The dirty little secret is that even without the pandemic, TV ratings have been going down, and the NBA is doing whatever it takes to help its TV partners make money and ensure the next TV deal is as good as this one.

Ratings have been going down across the board, but that can’t be an excuse for all the frustrating things under the NBA’s control that aren’t being addressed. We have all the things surrounding the game itself – from games starting 20 to 30 minutes after the scheduled time, cramming in an insulting number of commercials during the broadcast to a declining level of announcing the game. 

Then there’s the actual product. First of all, there’s too much of it. By now, we all know not to expect a competitive game before March. One of the best players in the league explained it best – the regular season is an 82 game practice. The rules have been opened up so offense can flow, but the level of protection floppers and foul hunters have these days is becoming too much. Trae Young and Luka Dončić‘s brand shouldn’t be lean-in flops on three-pointers. Steve Kerr spoke up on this a few days ago and called out the league, not the refs. Then we had this.

What should’ve been an entertaining game turned into a free throw bonanza. I actually feel for the refs – if the league won’t protect them from players constantly bitc*** and complaining, they’ll do it themselves. Games like this happen when things get out of hand. What to expect? This reminded me of Shaq’s epic moment in 2004.

“David Stern wonders why the league is losing money. That’s why. People paid good money to come watch these athletes play, and they [the refs] try to take over the fuc**** game!”

Shaquille O’Neal

We’re awarding flopping and foul hunting and ignoring traveling and illegal screens. If only a star player would have the courage to do something like this and say “enough.” I want to stress; the refs are doing the best they can within the league’s parameters. 

For some reason, there’s an illusion we want 145 -140 games (also known as Nets vs. Wizards.) We don’t. There’s a reason why no one cares about the All-Star game anymore – the actual game itself. There’s no drama if there’s no defense. We need to see people trying on BOTH ends of the court for a game to be interesting. But if the rules make it impossible to play with any physicality on defense, that’s right where we’re headed, 

To an 82 game season of All-Star games no-one cares about.