Taunting is something that has been around sports for a very long time and all the professional leagues are trying to find ways to prevent it from being a frequent thing. The NFL has 15-yard penalties for it and the NBA has technical fouls. Last night’s taunt from Jeff Green after his dunk was something that I think should have been OK.
As you can see from the video, Green had a thunderous dunk on Al Jefferson. As Green went back on defense, he stared at Jefferson very briefly and that in the officials mind was worth a technical foul.
I’m not sure this is the kind of taunting that warrants a technical. It’s not like Green pointed at Jefferson like Shawn Kemp, or even Dikembe Mutombo’s finger wag. Heck, it wasn’t even Scottie Pippen level.
A quick stare down is fine and that’s what Green did. The technical is a sign from the league that they are trying to take away the fun from the game. Especially when emotions are flying, there has to be a line drawn of what can and can’t be done. Green didn’t cross that line. He just stared briefly. No hand motions or anything.
Fortunately, the Celtics won that game and the penalty did not cost the team. Green’s teammates praised him for the dunk and for good reason. Green had missed all of last season with heart surgery and the dunk showed how much heart he had trying to come back and make an impact.
So I hope that the NBA re-thinks this and gives a pass next time to a player that has a little emotion. I’m not saying all taunts are OK, but surely this “taunt” by Green should get a pass. After all, a player’s swag level can’t fully be contained after a dunk like that.