An ejection from a professional sporting event usually requires egregious unsportsmanlike conduct. But not this time.
Nuggets guard Austin Rivers was ejected from last night’s game against the Pacers. The reason? He inadvertently threw an elbow that made the Will Smith slap look like assault with a deadly weapon.
At most, Rivers’ elbow, which occurred during a routine basketball move, appeared to lightly graze defender Lance Stephenson. The elbow infraction so lacked both intent and viciousness that even Stephenson, a notorious flopper, barely reacted. He briefly complained, which is standard procedure for NBA defenders, but continued to play on.
Moments later, a whistle blew, and Rivers was issued a technical. As it was his second technical of the night, he was then ejected.
WATCH THE BLOOD BATH BELOW:
Austin Rivers got ejected for this clear assault on Lance Stephenson pic.twitter.com/lvYw05CCIf
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) March 31, 2022
We regularly debate whether players in today’s NBA could cut it in the ’80s and ’90s. But after last night, I think we should be asking the opposite: How would players like Rick Mahorn, Charles Barkley, Bill Laimbeer, Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley fare in the modern game, where situations like the Stephenson-Rivers street fight happen almost every night?
Unsurprisingly, most people were blown away by the ridiculous call, including Denver coach Michael Malone. Following the game, Malone told the Denver Post’s Mike Singer that when he asked official Tony Brothers why Rivers was issued a technical then ejected, Brothers told him the elbow feint was a “malicious act.”
After the game ended with Denver on top, 125-118, Rivers vented on social media, tweeting: “Never in my life have I been thrown out of Game for something so ridiculous. Seriously…never (crying laughing emoji). League gotta look at this one.”
If they can even bear to watch…
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF