The Insider: Technical danger
The NBA's latest tech directive is most foul
David Stern doesn't want players to question his referees in any way, shape or gesture. So the NBA commissioner has given the go-ahead to dole out technical fouls as if they were coupons, albeit ones that cost a player $2,000 or more. And what's wrong with that? Big men towering over pinch-faced refs had become the normal post-whistle tableau, and if anyone is sensitive to appearances, it's Commissioner Dress Code. Heck, even players felt ref-badgering had gone overboard.
Well, here's what is wrong: Stern went the kill-a-mosquito-with-a-cannon route. Now, a ref can punish a player for any move he deems too demonstrative, no matter where it's directed. "We're asking refs to be psychologists and determine intent," says the Rockets' Shane Battier. "Their job is already hard enough."
To read about the dangers of the NBA's tech policy, including the one time Karl Malone nearly lost it with a ref, sign up for ESPN Insider today.
ESPN The Magazine: December 13, 2010
Check out ESPN The Magazine's December 13, 2010 issue -- the Perfect Issue -- below.