The butt slap is a universal sign of praise and encouragement in the sports world. It has long been a staple of camaraderie among teammates, regardless of the sport, and along with handshakes and hugs and high-fives, there is actual scientific research to support the idea that positive physical touch among teammates results in higher performance and increased morale.
Some teams, like the Phoenix Suns while Earl Watson was at the helm, even went so far as to make high fives mandatory. But whether it’s a high five or a butt slap, it’s a custom typically reserved for players on the same team, except in the rarest of occasions when a player might politely butt-slap an opponent out of mutual respect following a particularly impressive athletic feat.
It is, however, emphatically not to be deployed in a sarcastic or aggressive manner, as was apparently the case on Friday night during the Cavs-Grizzlies game in Memphis. In this instance, Tristan Thompson was the transgressor as he butt-slapped Jae Crowder as he was standing at the free-throw line, earning his second technical and thus an immediate ejection.
Tristan Thompson got ejected after slapping Jae Crowder’s butt
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 18, 2020
Both Crowder and Thompson had received technicals earlier in the contest for jawing back and forth at one another. You might recall that the two are former teammates, dating back to Crowder’s abbreviated stint in Cleveland during the 2017-2018 season when he was part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston.
Crowder lasted just half a season in Cleveland before he was shipped to Utah, and there seemed to be at least some real antipathy between the two during this exchange. Regardless, it’s one of the funniest ways anyone has ever gotten ejected from an NBA game.