Name a better duo than Trae Young and NBA officials. Orange juice and toothpaste, pineapple and pizza, Jeff Bezos and workers' rights. Those are just a few combinations that coexist better than the Atlanta Hawks point guard and referees.
Yesterday afternoon, Young tweeted a rhetorical question. Why can't officials take part in postgame press conferences like players and coaches? The 24-year-old hit on an important topic and a sore spot for the league.
Besides their official Twitter account that seemingly exists for the sole purpose of getting ratioed and Last Two Minute reports, there is little accountability from NBA officials.
Unfortunately, there will be no increase in transparency for the foreseeable future. Two weeks ago, the NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association entered into a new collective bargaining agreement.
The seven-year agreement tackles salary, travel, pension, and marketing issue rights. But no mention of increased accountability. Young will have gray hair, and LeBron James will be in his 47th season before the referees' union agrees to such a radically logical idea.
Young's question did not come out of left field. Despite having only played four seasons, the All-Star has already developed an acrimonious relationship with referees. During the 2021-22 NBA season, Young received 15 technical foul calls. One short of a one-game suspension.
Young can afford the fines. They are essentially speeding tickets after he earned All-NBA honors last season, which enacted the supermax clause of his five-year, $207 million contract extension, netting him an extra $35 million.
The All-NBA honors were the culmination of a historic season where Young became the second player in league history to lead in total points and assists. Not bad, considering the NBA changed officiating rules the prior offseason, which directly impacted Young's ability to get to the foul line.
Once again, critics are lining up to pounce on the Hawks ahead of the 2022-23 season. There will be no extra accountability for officials. Instead, Young will face higher expectations that come with superstardom.
If the past is prologue, and another day is another opportunity, something tells us Young will rise to the challenge and exceed our wildest expectations.
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