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Kevin McHale learned NBA's caller-ID system early

The tradition of NBA referees showing favoritism to star players goes back decades, as the TNT analyst and Hall of Fame forward discovered as a Boston Celtics rookie three decades ago.

November 02, 2009|Mike Penner

Regardless of what former referee Tim Donaghy might say in a book that remains unpublished, preferential treatment for NBA superstars from officials is a tradition and a culture that has existed for decades.

Kevin McHale, now a TNT studio analyst, remembers breaking in with the Boston Celtics, with Larry Bird as a teammate.

"I go up to do what I think is a good block, and they blow the whistle," said McHale, whose first season was 1980-81. "They yell, 'Foul on No. 32.' I said, '32? You mean 33? Larry [Bird] is the one who fouled him.' He said, 'You want Larry to have three or you to have one?' I said, 'My foul!' "

Trivia time

What award did McHale win in consecutive NBA seasons?

Can't take it anymore

Now that the St. Louis Rams have finally won -- scheduling a game against the Detroit Lions works wonders for a winless condition -- the title of Worst Team in Professional Football could now go to the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns, 1-7 after Sunday's blowout loss to Chicago, are so bad that members of the Dawg Pound are planning a protest during the team's Nov. 16 Monday night game against the Baltimore Ravens (a.k.a. the real Browns, who left Cleveland in the mid-1990s and then won the Super Bowl Cleveland never won while wearing purple and black uniforms instead of brown and orange).

"We're tired of losing," Dawg Pound member Mike Randall told the Akron Beacon-Journal. "We're tired of the booing, of seeing fans leave in the fourth quarter. There are fans who have had tickets for 30 years who are turning their seats in because they can't take it anymore. So many fans are fed up."

Randall is asking fans to stay out of their seats for the kickoff of the Browns' home game against the Ravens.

"We don't want to see fans with bags on their heads or booing," Randall said. "We love the Browns and will do anything to support them. But we're not being heard. Our goal is to say to the Browns organization, 'Hey, listen to your fans.' "

No call waiting?

After his Ipswich Town soccer team got off to a 0-2-5 start, Manager Roy Keane told the London Sun he was doing all he could think of to turn things around.

"I pray all the time," he said, "but obviously the man upstairs is busy at the moment."

Trivia answer

McHale won the NBA's sixth-man-of-the-year award in 1983-84 and 1984-85.

And finally

From Gary Loewen of the Toronto Sun, on the Idaho Junior Steelheads hockey team getting a four-day ban from a Boise rink for playing "strip hockey" in practice: "Just call it a bawdy check."


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