The Boston Celtics received three technical fouls on Wednesday against the New York Knicks, resulting in Kevin Garnett‘s ejection from the game.
Such has not been an uncommon sight in the preseason, as NBA referees are stringently enforcing the league’s new rules regarding on-court conduct.
Shaquille O’Neal, an 18-year NBA veteran, doesn’t like what he’s seeing. He lashed out about the officiating prior to the Celtics’ Friday matchup with the Raptors, the National Post reports.
“I just think that if you give [the referees] that much control, you might as well start selling their jerseys at Foot Locker,” O’Neal told the National Post. “This is an emotional game.
“I know when I pay the money to different arenas and I take my sons and my daughters, I want to see everything. I want to see them talking smack, I want to see it all. You can?t try to just cut off an emotional game, expect people not to have emotion. I can say that you can probably cut out the secondary and the third emotion, but if you hit me with this mic right here [O?Neal hits himself with a microphone belonging to a reporter] like this, I?m going to at least go, ‘Whoa, what you doing?’
“I can?t just let you hit me with the mic and just keep talking, ‘Yeah, everything?s good, I love Toronto,’ you know what I?m saying? I’ve got to at least have that, ‘What are you doing?? I think if they give us room to respectfully react once, sometimes maybe twice. Matter of fact, just keep it like the way it was.
“The other night, I don?t think KG did anything to get tossed out. Like I said, you going to give them that much control you might as well start selling their jerseys. Might as well make them stars.”
When asked whether the game has improved at all since 1992, Shaq wasn’t very optimistic.
“Nothing. You know, obviously there are a lot of exciting players, but when I came in, you used to have to fight,” O’Neal told the Post. “Now big guys don?t really have to fight. I don?t think they really want to fight. I don?t mean fistfights, I mean bump and bruise and [Charles] Oakley and [Anthony] Mason and [Alonzo] Mourning. Remember those days? Now you touch a guy, he falls, he flops. To me, watching big guys do that, I?m not a fan of that.”
NESN.com will showcase one Moment of Shaq every day until the Celtics open the season against the Heat on Oct. 26 at the TD Garden.
Friday, Oct 15: Shaq circa 1993.