CBS Sports's Ken Berger has carefully charted the back-and-forth between the players, the players union and the league office over the NBA's decision to crackdown on complaining and the rash of technical fouls that has resulted. Berger writes that the league is, so far, unyielding on its new policy to punish emotional reactions to foul calls.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom has opened up a new line of attack against the crackdown. In a piece by Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Odom goes after the league's long-standing marketing of emotion, arguing that David Stern and company are engaging in a bit of hypocrisy when they crack down on something they've previously promoted.
"It's kind of crazy because that's what people love to see. You watch the commercials and the NBA has dunking, [players making] faces and 'Where Amazing Happens,'" Odom said. "Now it's like 'Where Normal Happens.' ... There's nothing amazing about not showing emotion."
Odom has a point. Both Jerry Sloan and Marcus Camby could probably be whistled for technicals in this "Where Amazing Happens" spot.
Odom's argument is interesting because it leads to another, related conclusion: emotional complaining isn't just embedded in the league's commercials, it's fully embedded in the game. To conceive of an NBA without regular back-and-forth between players and officials is to imagine a totally different reality.
In the end, this is starting to reek of an idea that sounds far better in the boardroom that it looks on the court. While no one should expect the NBA to roll over in the face of this new wave of player criticism, it's hard to believe that, a month from now, the two sides won't have reached a compromise.