In the wake of the Tim Donaghy scandal over the summer, in which an NBA official was found to have been betting on games he was calling, it's not surprising that the league's current crop of officials don't have much of a sense of humor where gambling is concerned. That may explain why, after a fan told the official to "make sure the game's over 218 points," and then repeating "the OVER" multiple times, he was promptly ejected from the arena.
There's a YouTube video (of course there is) from the telecast of him being escorted out, but it's not really all that interesting. His first person account of the incident is though, and here's an excerpt (poor spelling and grammar included):
Me(intoxicated): MAKE SURE THE GAMES OVER 218 points. THE OVER. THE OVER. THE OVER.
referee(with no hesitation): THATS NOT FUNNY!THATS NOT FUNNY!YOUR OUTTA HERE!!
Next, he repeatedly blows his whistle and signals for a red suited security guard to eject me from the game! then the nba lead security questions me in the tunnel for 10 minutes and writes a report for league officials to investigate. he then takes my tickets and orders 10 red suited security guards to throw me out of the arena immediately.
A couple of things here. The guy admits he was intoxicated, so it's possible that his inebriated state was a factor in his ejection. Also, I've been fortunate enough to sit courtside or in the first few rows of an NBA game enough times to know that the fans are on an extremely short leash with what an official will allow you to say from that distance. But even being that close to the action, should that comment alone be enough to get you ejected from the arena?
It might be. I don't know if it's the proximity to the officials or the players, or the fact that because you're so close you might be seen on television (as this guy was) causing a disturbance, but the refs put up with almost nothing from courtside fans. I would say that on the majority of the occasions that I was that close, I witnessed an official warning some fans in those seats to tone it down or they'd be asked to leave. You can get away with saying a lot more from a few rows back than you can being courtside, for some reason that's just the way it is.
But what if we take what this guy says at face value, and the refs were simply so bothered by the gambling insinuation that they just decided to eject him. Is that a problem? Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. You can't blame them for being sensitive to the gambling topic, but at the same time, what if this person was just making a (weak) attempt at humor? I'm guessing the officials aren't listening all that closely to the crowd, so the intoxicated state of the fan, along with the fact that this probably wasn't the first thing he said all night that was questionable, contributed just as much to his ejection as the gambling reference did.
Oh, and for you conspiracy theorists out there, your final score: Golden State 116, L.A. Clippers 100: that's right, under the 218 total by a bucket.