How many times have we seen players ask to hold the game ball before the opening tip as some sort of ritual? Or ask the referee to wait a second while they position their feet comfortably for free throws? I can remember seeing Charles Oakley do it frequently back in the day as well as Charles Barkley and others.
Back then it seemed only established stars or veterans of the NBA got to request these creature comforts of referees. These days it seems anyone can do it and the referees just go along willingly.
Until last night.
During the third quarter of the Toronto Raptors’ game at Portland, Amir Johnson appeared to want to play the “it’s my ball for a minute” game with referee David Jones but he was having none of it. After a brief but quite comical wrestling match over the ball, Jones ejected Johnson from the game.
Johnson proceeded to lose his mind with and eventually throw his mouthpiece at the official. While we can’t be sure what exactly was said, it appears from online reaction that this outburst is quite out of Johnson’s character.
One thing we can be sure of however, is that Amir Johnson will be suspended for his actions. Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem threw his mouthpiece at official Joey Crawford during the 2006 Playoffs. An action that cost him an appearance for Game 2 of their first round series against the Chicago Bulls.
The way the Raptors have been performing lately it’s probably not such a bad thing. They are currently on a five game losing streak, have lost 11 of their past 12 and face the in-form Brooklyn Nets in two days.
What better time to have some rest, put up some shots and maybe get a new mouthpiece fitted.