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Before challenging Tim Duncan to throw down

April 17, 2007 |  1:21 pm

Double check and make sure you don't actually work for the NBA.  Otherwise, you might find yourself watching the playoffs in a sports bar, as is the case with suspended ref Joey Crawford, who offered to step outside with the Big Fundamental.  Apparently, you're not allowed to do that.  It must be one of those obscure rules way in back of the book.

I'm actually happy with this decision for two reasons.  First, ever since the Palace Brawl, David Stern has treated any player behavior that might even remotely come off as "thuggish"- from throwing a punch to arguing with officials to the length of their shorts- as a "Defcon 1" situation in need of a drastic measure.  Personally, as I've written on several occasions, I think he's gone way overboard, but if that's how he's gonna run the league, that's how he's gonna run the league.  But if that's indeed the game plan, when a ref behaves in a way that may also read as thuggish, as some might interpret baiting a player to put up his dukes, it needs to be handled with the exact same fearfulness by the league office.  Even though the odds of Duncan actually accepting the challenge seem more remote than Shaq donning a Laker uni again.

Second, I'm just not a fan of Joey Crawford.  I don't really have a problem with how he calls a game, but I can't stand how clearly convinced he is that the crowd is there to "watch him ref."  Him and Steve Javie.  It's obnoxious and ridiculous, not to mention delusional.  Thrilling a sight as it may be, the Laker Nation isn't showing up at Staples to watch Crawford call a blocking foul.  They're showing up to watch Vlad Radmanovic.  Or maybe Kobe Bryant, assuming they have a feeling he'll get some PT during that particular game.