There were plenty of highlights to witness in last night’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic. Among them were Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo combining for 53 points to take the second straight game at Orlando’s Amway Arena, Dwight Howard answering his critics with a 30-point performance, and Vince Carter giving his best Nick Anderson impersonation. But perhaps the lowest of highlights was veteran NBA ref Joe DeRosa responding to heckling by throwing a ball at a Magic fan.
With the Orlando crowd chanting, “Refs suck” – which as a Magic season ticket holder, I can tell you is more popular than the National Anthem at Amway – DeRosa and the other refs approached the scorer’s table when fan and Wyndham Vacation Ownership CEO Franz Hanning got a little closer to share his opinion, as the video shows. DeRosa and his forehead responded by throwing the ball at Hanning, who then returned the favor, at which point DeRosa had Hanning relocated to another seat.
Break down the fourth wall, Orlando Sentinel:
DeRosa called over Amway Arena security officials, who relocated the fan to another seat. DeRosa has officiated over 1,000 regular season games and 75 playoff games and five NBA Finals according to basketballrefs.com.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank, who attended the game, told the Orlando Sentinel that the league was aware of the situation, which was replayed on ESPN’s telecast.
ESPN replayed the ordeal, but I actually got a copy of a transcript of the exchange between Hanning and DeRosa:
*crowd chanting, “Refs suck”*
Hanning: “Hey stupid doodie face ref, you make bad calls!”
DeRosa: “I’ve had about enough of you… *tosses ball like 6-year old girl* Take that, scoundrel!”
Hanning: “Oh yeah? *tosses ball like 6-year old girl’s 5-year old sister* In your face, jerk mouth!”
DeRosa: *crying to police* “Make the bad man go away!”