Josh Hart May 2, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) looks to shoot the ball against Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (42) and forward Caleb Martin (16) during the fourth quarter of game two of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Some Miami Heat fans cried ‘conspiracy’ after the game broadcast showed Josh Hart of the New York Knicks telling referee Scott Foster, “Appreciate you,” after the Knicks’ Game 2 win on Tuesday.

A player showing appreciation toward a referee after a big win has to mean the ref rigged the game. Right? Put away the conspiracy theories because Hart cleared the air after the game.

In response to a Heat fan account asking if he appreciated Foster, Hart tweeted in response, “Yup I did. Also told Curtis [Blair] thanks and Mark [Lindsay] thanks. I always thanks the refs after games.”

There you go. Instead of this grand conspiracy theory, the real reason for Hart thanking Foster was sportsmanship. Referees have a difficult job and are typically only noticed when they screw up, so it’s probably a nice change of pace that a player is seeking a referee for something nice. Sure, that’s easy to do after a win, but it’s still nice.

Will that result in a referee being less strict on Hart? Maybe on a subconscious level. Though, if that were the case, every player could do the same thing and get the same benefit of the doubt. Maybe even Heat players…

This isn’t meant to trash Heat fans. In reality, a small sector of Miami fans actually believed this. It’s just that, like most conspiracy theories, the actual reason was way more logical and boring than others tried to dream up.

[Josh Hart]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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