The NBA: Where Swearing Happens

“He’s really talking up a storm out there.” – some white announcer

I came across this golden nugget today as I was hate-listening to Jim Rome on the way to the gym, and it would appear to reignite the debate as to precisely what types of behaviors constitute a technical foul under the so-called zero tolerance rules implemented by league brass a few years back.

The no-call on this particular play left “the Manimal” Faried visibly flummoxed and furthermore seems to suggest that a player is free to spew general obscenities into the ether as long as they are not directed toward any of the officials, although this seems wildly inconsistent with the “taunting” technicals that the referees so eagerly dispense for even the slightest post-dunk stare-down.

Viewed through a more cynical lens, some may see it as further evidence of the double-standard that’s in place for superstar players. For instance, John Wall and Jeff Teague will both earn technical fouls for a nano-second’s worth of mean-mugging after posterizing an opponent, while the profanity-laced tirades of players like KG and Lebron typically go unchecked.

But, thanks to omni-directional microphone technology, there’s nothing quite like the occasional, fleeting glimpse behind the wizard’s curtain to remind us that the otherwise muted and inaudible world transpiring on-court consists of testosterone-fueled adult male athletes cursing and swearing at one another as men sometimes do, rather than the G-rated, family-friendly affair that David Stern so desperately wants us to believe in.

I’ve always assumed that trash talking was ubiquitous in the NBA, and via candid testimonials from a chorus line of former players, we now know that Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, among other greats, were as legendary in this regard as they were in their dominate play.

Through NBA TV’s fantastic series Open Court, we’ve also come to understand that there are unspoken rules when it comes to trash talking, a certain level of decorum and/or code of ethics by which opponents are unofficially expected to abide (i.e. mothers, wives, and children are generally off limits). Of course, Garnett is a habitual line-stepper, as evidenced by the “Honey Nut Cheerio-gate” and the infamous Charlie V. “cancer patient” scandal of old, among countless other incidences What’s hilarious to me personally is the fact that Garnett’s real-world vulgarities are not far removed from the way he’s satirized in the hysterical itsreal85 segments.

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