Jayson Tatum is an NBA superstar, and Eddie House believes referees need to start treating the four-time All-Star like one.
Tatum and officials were at odds Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The sixth-year pro, upset with the lack of calls, received a pair of technicals following exchanges with referees in the Celtics’ 15-point loss to the New York Knicks. It marked the first ejection of Tatum’s NBA career.
House, a former Boston guard who now works as an analyst of the team, believes Tatum’s frustration with the refs was warranted. The ex-sharpshooter also thinks officials need to change their approach with the MVP candidate.
From House on “Celtics Postgame Live,” as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston:
“I tell you this, it won’t be his last (ejection) because he doesn’t get the respect from the referees as the player that he is. You know, superstar status.
“This right here is a clear-cut foul. I don’t care if the ball’s gone, you can’t hit his arm. He has every right to be upset at that. That does bother you as a shooter, that is something that upsets you, and then he should have the right to talk to referees. He’s not being demonstrative, he’s not showing the referee up. …
“They have to understand who they’re dealing with. This ain’t Jayson Tatum who just came into the league. This is Jayson Tatum who’s an MVP candidate, who has been part of the NBA Finals, five conference finals, and on top of that won the MVP of the All-Star Game. He has to get some respect. And I understand where it’s coming from, because he sees everyone else getting that respect and he’s not getting it. Yeah, he should be upset.”
House has a point, but even the game’s best players have to deal with nights when the refs aren’t on their side. Just ask Tatum, who had a front-row seat to LeBron James not receiving superstar treatment this season.