Devin Booker’s ejection on Tuesday night became a signature moment in the NBA this week. With a pair of questionable techs resulting in Booker’s absence from the final minutes of the game, conversations about officiating and its biggest problems have gotten pretty loud, with both fans and prominent media members expressing their views.
But what did Booker actually say that night? While it’s easy to call the refs “soft” or “trash” for kicking Book in the middle of such an important game, it may not have been completely unwarranted.
Going back to look at the footage, Book clearly said something profane to an official, likely using the word “b*tch” to express his frustration.
The magic word that got Devin Booker ejected last night vs the Lakers rhymes with witch. But it is not snitch, sandwich, pitch.
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) March 3, 2021
Here’s what I think happened. Book got initial T from Tyler Ford. When Ford was walking away he said a BAD magic word about him. It wasn’t about the ball throw (& that’s why Davis didn’t react). Van Duyne heard it (& LA demonstrably reacted) = 2nd tech. /1 pic.twitter.com/3S72dtluhO
— SCOUTWITHBRYAN (@ScoutWithBryan) March 3, 2021
While some still believe this is a case of severe overreaction from the refs, Booker did not get ejected for simply throwing the ball where he shouldn’t have. He got that second tech for curing at and disrespecting a referee, which is pretty commonly frowned upon in most major sports.
It’s okay for players to gripe about a certain call, but when things get personal, that’s when the officials usually draw the line.
In this case, Booker may have overstepped. And, no matter how you feel about the current landscape of basketball, the Suns star at least somewhat deserved that tech.