Stephen A. Smith found himself utterly taken aback by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s ejection on Wednesday night, yet he remained unaware of the specifics until Thursday morning—leaving him deeply disconcerted.
During the Milwaukee Bucks’ clash against the Detroit Pistons, Antetokounmpo momentarily displayed a mean-mugged expression towards Isaiah Stewart after a dunk. This act led to a quick technical foul, his second of the game, resulting in his ejection from the match.
Stephen A. Smith slams NBA referee for ejecting Giannis Antetokounmpo over a mean mug https://t.co/XlGbNcWNcc
pic./tZcDA7jhyO— Awful Announcing (awfulannouncing) November 9, 2023On “First Take,” Smith vehemently criticized the call, labelling it as “ridiculous” and a disservice to the paying fans in attendance. He vowed to contact the league office, expressing his disbelief at the decision to eject a player of Giannis’s calibre over such an incident.
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“I’m gonna call the league office today,” Smith voiced, “I’m gonna call the league office today. Who the hell is paying to see the referee? That is not a reason to eject Giannis Antetokounmpo from a game. That is ridiculous. That is a disservice to the fans, to the paying customers coming to see them play. That is ridiculous.”
Antetokounmpo himself was visibly bewildered by the call, attempting to reason with the officials before momentarily taking a seat in the front row, perplexed by the situation.
.stephenasmith says Giannis getting ejected was RIDICULOUS 👀”Im going to call the league office today. Who the hell is paying to see the referee? That is not a reason to eject Giannis Antetokounmpo from a game.”
pic./y84gU3WpKC— First Take (FirstTake) November 9, 2023Expressing his dismay, Smith emphasized the injustice done to the paying fans, particularly those who may only have the opportunity to witness their favourite NBA stars a few times a year.
Admitting his initial lack of knowledge about the reason behind Antetokounmpo’s ejection, Smith later stated:
“That is not a reason to eject a superstar basketball player who clearly the paying customer is coming to see. I know you get him 41 nights a year in the locale that is Milwaukee, I get all of that. Thank God it wasn’t a road game where you only get to see him once or twice a year. But for Giannis Antetokounmpo to get ejected for that reason is ridiculous.”
Despite the ejection, the Bucks managed to secure a victory with an impressive 18-point display in the fourth quarter by Damian Lillard, limiting the impact of the controversial decision. Smith, much like Giannis and various fans, firmly believed the referee erred in his decision-making process, which ultimately affected the game.