By: Rob Botts
What does a typical teenager and the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association have in common? Well, if you ask a parent or NBA referee, they’ll tell you it’s one mind numbing, ear ringing thing. Both whine. And what do said parents and referees have in common with themselves when said whining begins? They take action. One uses a whistle and technical foul application while the other might use a stern conversation and grounding as a way to get their message across. Does it stop the whining for good? Not at all. Temporarily? Yes. Sometimes. Ugh. Does it send a message and relive the pounding headache that they might have from such an annoyance? Absolutely. It’s called “nipping in the bud” or in this particular brand of referee justice, “clipping it in the bud.”
This year’s version of Ballmer’s boys is much more experienced, deep and talented. And incredibly annoying. They are now the Joey Crawford of NBA teams and that is not a good thing. Just ask Tim Duncan. I don’t know how the world hasn’t imploded with Joey and the Clippers colliding. That is a lot of back and forth will not end well for the Clips or the paying fans in attendance hoping to see some action from the team’s main stars. Unfortunately, the Clippers are not helping their own cause in today’s ultra politically correct, short leash on any back talk league.
I will be the first one in line to say the league office needs to do something about the ref’s quick T and ejection trigger fingers but this particular franchise needs to get a grip. Last time I checked league Commish Adam Silver is not going to back off on the current plan for a kindler, gentler NBA. It us a shame that for years now, players just can’t get rough and tough with each other in an ultra competitive way. Talking trash to each other was such a fun and enlightening part of the game. It gave us as fans a window into what they were REALLY thinking. The NBA is so fearful of another malice in the palace incident that they have clamped down across the board for quite some time now.
Again, let’s go back to our friendly neighborhood teenager who has been told there is no being out past midnight. No exceptions. But, that teen who talks better than he or she listens, is hell bent on being out past the stroke of midnight. Not gonna happen. Now back to the basketball men of Los Angeles in red and blue. They think if they keep acting out the refs will eventually let them continue to ratchet up the whining rhetoric. Not gonna happen. But that doesn’t stop this year’s Clippers ability to leave their whining mark on their games. I’m not saying the whole squad squawks non stop to the Zebras or anybody within range but it’s starting to filter down from the main dudes to the bench guys. This type of thing is contagious and it just might end up swallowing up the whole team at some point.
Who are the main guys and what are some of their whining moments? Let’s start with the team’s engine. None other than Mr. State Farm insurance slinger himself Chris Paul. There hasn’t been an under the breath comment he hasn’t found a situation to use to the refs. As he rides his opponent on defense with his body he continues to ride the official who, in Paul’s mind, just blown a call on his previous drive to the cup. He mutters and furrows his brow as he continues to lay into the guys whistling the game. He is absolutely relentless in his verbal badgering. Then you’ve got Mr. Kia himself, Blake Griffin. When he misses a shot he truly believes he was fouled. Why else would he have missed. Don’t answer that. Blake has got this. I actually witnessed a sequence recently where he drove to his right and then floated away from contact with the defender for a fade shot and as soon as the ball bounced off the rim, he spun around looking at the ref in disbelief. Usually Griffin is much more vocal however with the heard of zebras trying to keep up with him on the break. He will throw his arms high in the air and begin yelling out very colorful descriptions of the play that just unfolded in the way HE saw it. Blake likes adjectives. Finally we have Mr. D’Andre Jordan. He just might be the biggest whiner of them all. Well, literally he is but his whining just might be the biggest as well. When the Clipper center misses a put back or follow up dunk he immediately begins to squint as if the sun has just risen beyond the referee he is glaring at as he unleashes a loud dissatisfaction his the non call that just took place. He also reacts in a similar fashion when he gets the ball in a set play in the half court if he is bumped ever so slightly on his jump hook release. Jordan even whines and flails his arms even if the shot goes in the hoop and he is not sent to the charity stripe. You think that would be the last place he would ever want to go.
Those are the “All Mouths” on this squad. Honorable mention goes to head coach Doc Rivers who goes with the indiscernible hoarse like vocal inflections. J. J. Redick prefers the “whisper whine” while making over exaggerated facial expressions as he is walking away. New editions Paul Pierce and Lance Stevenson are what take this years team over the top. They are part of the constant “chatter whine” that just might be the worst if the refs hadn’t already tuned them out. This is the reality of the current NBA. Whining isn’t going to change the fact that the refs are going to put you in the place the league would like you if you whine to the officials. On the bench with your first T to cool down for a bit or double T you and you can cool down for the rest of the evening in the locker room where you can hashtag and emoji until your fingers cramp up.
As ESPN’s 30 for 30 film clearly stated about Reggie Millers taking over game time as “Winning Time”, I can see next year’s 30 for 30 blasting off across the popular sports behemoth’s network entitled “Whining Time.” Then as soon as they run the show up to the execs at the world wide leader, I can see them doing one thing and one thing only. The thing NBA refs do when the Clippers begin to open their collective mouths.
Clip it in the bud.