Put yourself in the shoes of a professional athlete for just one second. A game is in its final moments, your team is going to win barring something beyond catastrophic happening, and out of the corner of your eye, you notice that a referee just did something kind of embarrassing.
If that happens, you are absolutely going to take the opportunity to laugh at their expense, right? Referees generally seem to have alright relationships with players, but their job is still to point out when you mess up, so you have to take the opportunity to clown them if it pops up.
This occurred during Wednesday night’s game between the Knicks and the Raptors. A ref slipped over, and since the Knicks had the game in hand, Tim Hardaway Jr. thought it would be fun if he took a moment to troll the official by pretending to call him safe. This occurred while Serge Ibaka attempted a corner three and Hardaway was the person tasked with contesting the shot.
THJ called the ref safe 😂 pic.twitter.com/muj7AaYSLx
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) November 23, 2017
The Knicks were up by 10 with 20 seconds left, so there was next to no chance that Toronto was going to win this game. I cannot blame Hardaway for doing something that he may literally never get the chance to do in his NBA career over trying to close out on Ibaka.
Oh, also: Ibaka missed this shot, so if you are an NBA player who has the choice between play defense and do something that might make an opponent laugh, this proves that you should pick the latter.