The relationship between players and officials has been a controversial topic in the NBA for years. The recent incident involving Luka Doncic making a cash gesture towards an official during Wednesday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors has once again highlighted this issue. While the officials are responsible for ensuring the game is played fairly, players expect them to make the right calls, particularly in the clutch moments.
In this case, Doncic attempted a layup that could have cut the Dallas deficit down to a single point. He missed, and he didn’t get a foul call as Golden State recovered the ball and secured the victory. As Doncic ran back up the court, he rubbed his fingers together toward an official, making the unofficial cash gesture. While this incident was unacceptable, it was not an isolated one.
The incident involving the Warriors and Mavericks is yet another instance where the relationship between players and officials has become tense. In the third quarter, the Warriors were awarded the ball after it had gone out of bounds, but the Mavericks mistook a signal for a mandatory timeout as the ball being awarded to them, and assumed that it would be their ball after the timeout. The Warriors scored an easy basket, and the Mavericks are protesting the result of the game based on the bizarre moment.
It is not just Doncic who has had issues with officiating this season. Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet recently criticized official Ben Taylor by name and was fined for it. Anthony Davis suggested fines for officials after bad calls, and Trae Young recently echoed that message. At one point earlier in the season, the officials used their Twitter account to apologize for mistakes made during games.
The NBA needs to take steps to address this issue before it escalates further. While the league can fine players to limit public dissent, more needs to be done to ensure there is trust between players and officials. The league could consider more training and development programs for officials or exploring the use of technology to aid officials in making better calls.
The NBA has a responsibility to ensure that players trust officials to make the right decisions. Fans want to see a fair game, and players want to play in one. It is up to the league and the officials to make the necessary changes to ensure that the sport lives up to its reputation as one of the most exciting and enjoyable in the world.