With Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook’s start to the basketball season included a string of consecutive triple doubles not seen since the days of Oscar Robertson, it would make sense that everyone on the court should be ready to receive an assist from him.
That includes referees.
During Wednesday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, the talented but mercurial point guard threw the ball towards referee Tre Maddox after the Thunder called timeout. Maddox, who was hit in the side of the head, called a technical foul on Westbrook.
Westbrook received his 10th technical foul of the season during the timeout. He had two technicals from earlier on in the season that the NBA had recently rescinded.
After realizing what went down, Westbrook went over to Maddox to apologize for his actions, looking shocked at what had happened.
“I called his name. He turned right at me and then looked away. I don’t know,” Westbrook told reporters after the game. “I don’t know what to tell you, brother. I really don’t. I’m not the type of guy … I would never, ever disrespect the game like that and throw the ball at the referee. I’ve never done it before. That’s just not even heard of in the game before. To get a tech, it’s crazy to me. But you take the good with the bad.”
Westbrook has started the season of as one of the leading candidates for NBA MVP. He had 33 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists in his team’s losing effort against Charlotte.
Known as one the league’s most intense players, Westbrook looked to be initially restrained by his teammates after the throw. He immediately tried to make it clear that no harm was done on his part.
It wasn’t the first time chucking a basketball got him in trouble.
Earlier the season, Westbrook launched a ball towards the rim on the other side of the court. He was initially called for a technical foul that was later rescinded.
He is currently six technical fouls away from an automatic one-game suspension from the NBA.