The funniest moments of Rasheed Wallace‘s unintentional “Mike’d Up” segment during last Friday’s Hawks/Celtics game — when his voice carried to every court mic and provided color commentary from the Dolemite Broadcast School — weren’t any of his creative curses or when he screamed “BALL DON’T LIE!” after Atlanta missed a free throw following a questionable call. It was every time ‘Sheed acted like there was some conspiracy against the Celtics by the referees.
Of all the people with whom I thought ‘Sheed would develop a kinship in Boston — KG, Pierce, Doc, his Mini-Me Eddie House, maybe even The Gooch on a mentor/apprentice level — I didn’t know Tommy Heinsohn would be on that list. A conspiracy against Boston? So that the wildly popular Atlanta Hawks can have their way? That’s what we’re going with?
But then ‘Sheed wasn’t the only one associated with the Celtics complaining about the refs following yesterday’s loss to the Lakers. In the aftermath of Boston’s third straight L, it’s been: Pierce didn’t push off (or even if he did, Kobe does it all the time); Kobe double-dribbled on the game-winner; the Lakers shot 22 free throws while Boston “only” shot 19 at the stripe.
But I’m not going to single out the Celtics. Players, coaches, fans and even some media for every team initially look to blame the refs after a tough loss. It’s like a sports reflex. I remember in Little League football, our rare losses were inevitably because “The refs was cheatin’!” to about half of my crying teammates. And in my hometown Seattle, people still fly into a rage if you bring up the ref job during the Seahawks’ 2005 Super Bowl loss to the Steelers.
Sometimes it’s comical, sometimes it’s utterly annoying. Either way, it’s time to enact a new rule for the NBA: Until further notice, anybody associated with the Lakers, Celtics, Cavs and Spurs cannot complain about the refs. Your teams are the main culprits of “getting all the calls” more often than not; the only time it’s not the case is if you’re matched up against one another and it’s impossible for both teams to “get all the calls.” Kobe, LeBron, the Big Three, and Tim Duncan will always get superstar treatment. Always. You can throw D-Wade, Steve Nash and Chris Paul in there, too, although for whatever reason their influence on refs doesn’t necessarily extend to the rest of their team.
You want to chalk up a loss to injuries, to coaching, to condensation on the court? Fine. But leave the refs out of it. It’s like Lady Gaga blaming the gay community for lack of support if she loses out on a Grammy.