A running gag surrounding the NBA is the existence of “superstar calls.”
The belief is if you are a big-name player, you get more preferential treatment from the referees and they’re less likely to call fouls.
For the second time this season, that theory has been put to the test.
In Monday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets center and two-time MVP Nikola Jokić was ejected shortly before halftime after picking up his second technical foul of the game.
Nikola Jokić was ejected from Monday night's game against the Pistons, and Detroit play-by-play man George Blaha had choice words for the officials after it.
"Let me tell you this, these fans did not come here to see Curtis Blair, Tre Maddox or Andy Nagy, whoever they are. pic.twitter.com/lD8t8GdXRb
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 21, 2023
Both of Jokić’s technicals came for arguing with the officials which is technically not allowed but certainly something that star players are generally given far more leeway on. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has argued with the referees after seemingly every no-call made driving the lane throughout his 20-year career. He’s been ejected just twice in his career, with only one of the two ejections coming for arguing.
Just two weeks ago, Milwaukee Bucks forward and former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was ejected for staring at an opposing player after a dunk, his second technical of the game. The first was given for arguing with the referees.
Pistons play-by-play man George Blaha was right on the money in the above clip. Fans pay exorbitant prices to attend NBA games and they want to see the star players, not the officials. Jokić and the Nuggets will not return to Detroit again this season.