Doc Rivers getting ejected with his son Austin egging it on was comedy gold. Here’s where the situation at the Houston Rockets game lies among the funniest NBA ejections.
When it comes to being ejected, no one is safe from the wrath of an NBA official that feels disrespected. Throughout NBA history, there have been several ejections that are questionable, absurd, confusing and just plain hilarious. As you’ll see in this list, there have been several similarly hilarious ejections to what occurred on Wednesday when the Houston Rockets took on the LA Clippers.
From being tossed for chucking a mouthpiece to backhanded slaps, here’s how the Rivers and Rivers showdown stacks up against some of the most absurdly hilarious ejections in NBA history:
5. Rasheed’s staredown (2000 WCF)
Of course, a list of technical fouls and ejections wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from the incomparable Rasheed Wallace, so we’ll get right to him. Way back in Game 1 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sheed had an ongoing dialog with referee Ron Garretson that increasingly turned hostile.
After picking up three fouls early on in the game, Wallace began shouting at Garretson while seated at the corner of Portland’s bench area. Eventually, Rasheed was whistled for a technical foul from the bench and promptly began to laugh it off, while still seemingly perturbed. Later in the game after appearing to be fouled, then re-gathering the ball and dunking for an and-one, Wallace demonstratively yelled and pumped his fist toward Garretson and proceeded to stare the veteran official down.
Luckily for everyone, the microphones at NBA on NBC picked up the whole explanation from Garretson as he tossed Wallace. After Rasheed gave the official the death stare going into a timeout, Ron had enough, exclaiming, “Whack! Get out!”
While Wallace, to his credit, didn’t say a word back, teammate Steve Smith rushed over to Garretson for an explanation. “I asked him three times to stop staring at me, trying to intimidate me. I’m done, he’s gone,” explained Garretson. The full clip of the ejection, complete with what led up to it, can be found here.
There has been much debate about whether the ejection was warranted, but after seeing the clip, I tend to side more with Garretson on this one. Rasheed has infamously been a hothead throughout his career and was clearly warned several times. While I don’t believe Wallace is the type of guy that would harm an NBA official, the intimidation was enough considering the buildup.
Next: No. 4
4. Steph Curry tosses mouthpiece, gets tossed (2016 NBA Finals)
Spoiler alert: of all the ejections on this list, this one is hands-down the most warranted. I mean, I don’t care how frustrated you are, you can’t throw something toward the crowd, much less something that’s been in your mouth for 43 minutes. That’s exactly what happened, though, in the 2016 NBA Finals.
With the Golden State Warriors up 3-2 in the series and looking to wrap up another NBA title, Stephen Curry was whistled for his sixth foul with 4:22 remaining and his team down by 12. Frustrated by the call, Curry proceeded to whip out his mouthpiece and hurl it at about 80 mph, striking a fan in the back.
While he explained to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck that he didn’t mean to throw the piece at a fan and promptly went over to apologize, the action was definitely too much for officials to overlook. Curry had already fouled out anyway but was ejected from the court following his outburst.
— FanSided (@FanSided) June 17, 2016
Strangely enough, this wasn’t the first time a mouthpiece throw was cause for ejection. In Game 1 of a first-round matchup with the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem was ejected and then suspended for Game 2 of the series for doing the same thing. In his case, however, the mouthpiece toss was aimed at an official.
The NBA might have to look at requiring a mouthpiece with a leash attachment if this continues to be a trend.
Next: No. 3
3. Mo Pete’s slapback (2006)
This one is a gem that I had never seen before. In January 2006, the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets were in the second quarter of a close battle when a slap battle broke out. Yes, you read that correctly, but it’s not like it seems.
Morris Peterson and Vince Carter became close as teammates on the Raptors from 2000-05 before Carter ended up on the Nets the year prior to this matchup. In what was definitely a playful act, Carter walked up to Mo Pete during a dead ball and laid a quick right-handed slap across his face. Not one to just sit and take it, Peterson returned the favor with a backhand to Carter’s cheek as the veteran was walking away.
Official Steve Javie, having not seen the original slap by Carter, promptly ejected Peterson, leading to a fuming storm-off from the shooting guard. This was hilarious for a few reasons. For one, Carter didn’t seem to try to fight much for his former teammate after the ejection even though he caused the situation.
And two, we’re talking about two grown men slapping each other. While Javie didn’t see Vince’s initial smack, Carter can clearly be seen laughing while he’s walking away from Mo. Did NBA officials not have the ability to perceive social cues or context back in 2006? Apparently not.
The full, low-quality video of the “incident”, can be seen here.
Next: No. 2
2. Tim Duncan laughs his way into an ejection (2007)
This one would definitely be number one if this was a list of the most absurd ejections. In a close game between the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks in April 2007, Tim Duncan was tossed from a game for laughing from the bench. It has become a legendary story since it happened, involving therapy, a suspension, a heavy fine and an alleged offer to settle matters with a physical fight.
Joey Crawford went into work on that April evening with a vendetta against the Big Fundamental. At least, that’s what Duncan alleged after being given two technical fouls within 1:16 of each other in the third quarter of the Spurs’ game against the Mavericks. Duncan was visibly frustrated by the officiating throughout the game and continued to make his disapproval known while on the bench late in the third quarter.
After being assessed a technical foul after possibly saying something to Crawford, Tim’s only response was to laugh it off with teammates Michael Finley and Robert Horry. Less than two minutes later, another questionable call led to Duncan again chuckling from the sidelines. That was apparently enough for Joey Crawford, who tossed the five-time NBA champion, supposedly for showing him up.
What’s even crazier about the situation is what Duncan says Crawford was saying during the game, as an ESPN story detailed:
“He looked at me and said, ‘Do you want to fight? Do you want to fight? If he wants to fight, we can fight. I don’t have any problem with him, but we can do it if he wants to. I have no reason why in the middle of a game he would yell at me, ‘Do you want to fight?”‘
If Joey indeed said these things to Duncan, it’s easy to see why he felt there was a vendetta against him from the start.
As a result of the incident, Crawford was fined $100,000 by Commissioner David Stern and suspended for the rest of the season and playoffs. Stern also ordered Crawford to see a psychiatrist regarding his anger, which he ended up following through with.
The situation itself was both absurd and hilarious at the time, and luckily Crawford learned a lot about himself from the incident and really took it to heart. You can view the full incident here.
Next: No. 1
1. Austin Rivers gets father ejected, waves him off the court
Austin Rivers didn’t have a notable game against his father’s LA Clippers, yet still provided quality entertainment. Despite only hitting one of his eight shots from outside, his parting shot to Doc Rivers was his best of all. With the Houston Rockets ahead 96-88 with 1:31 remaining, Doc started yelling at the officials over a timeout miscommunication, which led to Austin signaling for his dad to be called for a technical foul.
Once the technicals were called on Doc and he was subsequently ejected, his son couldn’t help but grin as he waved off the legendary coach and did the sign for “call me” with his hands. With Doc Rivers no longer on the court, the Rockets went on to defeat LA 102-93 behind 47 points and seven assists from their superstar, James Harden.
While noticeably upset at the time, Doc Rivers showed he was a good sport on his son’s Instagram post later that day, saying “hilarious…love you.”
After the game, Austin told Fox26’s Mark Berman just how good the moment felt: “It was a really good moment. I enjoyed it a lot. I’m not gonna lie to you, I really enjoyed that,” said Rivers with a slight grin. Given the way Austin encouraged the officials to toss his own dad from the game, Wednesday’s ejection ranks at the top of the list for most hilarious boots.
Part two of Rivers vs. Rivers will take place on Nov. 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET from the Staples Center.