Shortly before the start of training camp last month, NBA officials received an updated, more stringent technical foul policy aimed at limiting arguments and menacing gestures toward game officials.
The result? Through the first 59 games of the preseason, 69 technical fouls were called on both players and coaches for violations other than 3 second calls. While the Lakers only accounted for a mere 4 percent of that statistic, still affected, Lamar Odom offered up a new catchphrase for the NBA during a media session last Friday.
“Where normal happens…not amazing,” said Odom. “There’s nothing amazing about it. There’s nothing amazing about not showing emotion.”
During a preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, Odom kept his arm elevated after a foul was called to indicate he was within the rules of verticality, a sort-of silent protest that earned him a technical foul.
“That was one of the weirdest technicals I’ve ever gotten,” Odom said.
Under the new guidelines, referees are allowed to assess a technical for demonstrative and continuous displays of emotion, even if they aren’t directed at a referee. Any action that doesn’t show proper respect for the game could result in a technical, subject to the discretion of the referee. Players will be allowed to display emotion, in the heat of the moment, as long as it isn’t over the top and pending they get it under control quickly.
That’s easier said than done.
“It’s an emotional game, no matter what,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. “You’re going to react if you don’t agree with a call. You can’t keep yourself cool all the time.”