Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook earned a league-leading 16th technical foul in a 110-88 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, and if not rescinded by the NBA, Westbrook will have to serve a one-game suspension and also cough up $5,000.
When asked about the possibility of missing a game with his team jockeying for playoff position with the likes of the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers, Westbrook elected to remain mum on the topic.
Russ' answer to 3 straight questions about his 16th tech (which results in a 1-game suspension):
"Next question." pic.twitter.com/2Z259FAOlW
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 17, 2019
Westbrook picking up his 16th technical pressed me to sift through the archives and see which players have also met the lowly threshold over the years.
What would a technical foul list be without Rasheed Wallace? Mr. Ball Don’t Lie racked up a countless number of T’s throughout his stellar career, including leading the league in that department eight times since 1999-00 until his retirement in 2013.
But maybe we should commend Wallace for being able to tone it down a few notches from the volatility he showed earlier in his career.
In the ’99-00 season with Portland, Wallace amassed an astounding 38 technicals over the year. Thirty. Eight. The next season? Wallace had 41!
The clip above is from that campaign, one that was stained for Wallace by emotional outbursts time and time again.
Kobe Bryant’s competitive spirit is frequently lauded, with many naming it as one of the main qualities that make him a GOAT.
While Bryant is one of the most strong-willed and fierce players to ever grace the hardwood, he certainly had a mean streak, one that led to many technical fouls over his lengthy career.
Early in his career, Bryant seemed to be immune to techs. He never came close to sniffing the top of the leaderboard and was given T’s moderately. But starting in 2005-06, things started to shift for Bryant on that front.
Kobe had 15 technicals, second in the league to… Rasheed Wallace! He was able to dodge suspension, but narrowly. I guess going from Shaquille O’Neal to Chris Mihm as your starting center will erode your nerves to that extent.
However, Bryant wasn’t so lucky in the 2010-11 season, when he received 16 technicals, warranting a one-game penalization.
The clip above has to be one of my favorite NBA moments over the last five years or so. Just pure hilarity.
DeMarcus Cousins converts an and-one to put him up to 54 points in a monstrous performance against the Portland Trail Blazers. Cousins then turns and gestures to the Blazers’ bench, which was viewed by Portland head coach Terry Stotts as Cousins intentionally spitting in the direction of his guys.
Safe to say Stotts was not happy and lobbied for the referees to punish Cousins for his actions.
After a quick conference, referees decided to eject Cousins, who had already been given a technical foul earlier in the contest.
Cousins, irate, storms off the court, only to be sanctioned to return after some further deliberation by the refs.
The way Cousins returns to the court is what tickles me the most. It’s like a scene from a cheesy sports movie where the hero overcomes some unimaginable circumstance to save the day for his team and bring joy to the fans.
What’s even better is Cousins’ interview after what proved to be a win for the Kings. He was in rare form.
Okay now back to the technical foul business. When it comes to T’s Boogie is a bandit. Since 2010-11, Cousins has finished top-five in technical fouls seven times, including four as the head honcho of the league.
In 2012-13, Cousins had 17 technicals, which forced him to sit out one game due to suspension.
Cousins has carved out a reputation as somewhat of a grump who isn’t afraid to let words fly, and that hasn’t aided his standing with the refs throughout his career thus far.
Dwight Howard might be a surprising inclusion on this list to some, but you shouldn’t be mystified by his appearance.
Since 2009-10, Howard has led the league in technical fouls three times, including 17 just last season with the Charlotte Hornets, which sent Howard toward suspension for one game.
Howard is perceived as jovial, jolly and many of his antics are done in jest, but referees wouldn’t buy that narrative no matter how relentlessly you sold it to them. They have a checkered past with Howard, one that features a high volume of technical fouls.
Some brand Kevin Garnett as a fake tough guy, but I think he was just a little crazy and wasn’t afraid to let it show if it meant leaving his opponents miffed.
Whatever you consider him to be, it’s no secret that he had an up-and-down relationship with the referees over the years, resulting in a host of technical fouls throughout his career.
In 2002-03, Garnett had 17 technicals, which was tied for third in the league with Gary Payton and Jermaine O’Neal. A one-game suspension was on deck for Big Ticket.
Sidenote: Looking at these technical foul numbers from back in the day is crazy. Players routinely collected upwards of 20 techs.
While never leading the league in technicals, there were a few seasons where Garnett found himself in that top three-ish range. About what you’d expected for a guy who’s intensity is well documented.
I guess Garnett began to channel his energy towards irritating the opposition and not the referees. Seems like a smart plan.