Video: Did This 'Flagrant' Foul on LeBron James Deserve an Automatic Ejection?


Much to the chagrin of the NBA, the two biggest storylines of its 2023 playoffs thus far have nothing to do with basketball itself.

Rather, the NBA headlines have been dominated by two things — injuries and referees.

On the injury front, there’s been no shortage of big name players to miss games so far. NBA stars such as former league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, likely 2023 MVP Joel Embiid, former Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, 2022’s Most Improved Player of the Year Ja Morant, and eight-time All-Star Paul George have all missed games thus far, with many games still left to be played in the first round of the playoffs.

As to the other major issue afflicting these playoffs, NBA fans are less than thrilled with the way referees have been performing.

The most recent example of a polarizing referee decision came during Saturday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers won 111-101, but not without some controversy first.

Taylor Swift Halts Concert to Deliver Message to Young Fans, Christian Parents Won't Like This

Early in the second half, Lakers star LeBron James was bringing the ball up court when Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks was pressuring him.

To wit: Brooks had become something of a nuisance for James in recent days, publicly antagonizing the Lakers star.

Brooks, seemingly going for the basketball, ended up hitting James in the groin:

Do you think this deserved an ejection?

A quick glance under that tweet, and a broader Twitter search in general, shows that NBA fans appear legitimately torn on the intentions of that low blow.

Some felt it was a dirty play, while others felt it was an honest basketball move gone horribly awry.

Regardless, many expected a Flagrant 1 given the general lack of maliciousness of the play, as the NBA typically watches for things like a wind-up or follow-through on these types of plays. There didn’t appear to be an obvious example of either from the video.

Much to many’s surprise, however, referee Marc Davis actually announced on the broadcast that the play was a Flagrant 2, due to being “excessive,” which carries with it an automatic ejection for Brooks.

Coroner Confirms Cause of Death for 20-Year-Old College Football Player

The Brooks ejection echoes back to a remarkably similar incident from just two days prior in the playoffs. During Thursday’s tilt between the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, Sixers star James Harden was ejected from the game after what largely appeared to be incidental contact with an opposing player’s groin area.

The Harden ejection sparked a similar online furor, with some feeling it was deserved and many others feeling it wasn’t.

That’s to say nothing of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors series, where former players are publicly calling out referees for having “dictated too much” in the King’s favor:

All of the above controversies are happening on top of the usual missed calls and human error you would normally expect from any official.

The Lakers and Grizzlies next play on Monday in Los Angeles. Many are expecting it to be a chippy and testy game, with or without Brooks. Although no suspension or additional punishment has been announced for Brooks, with the way the league officials have been operating in this year’s playoffs, it truly does feel as though any and all punishments are still in play.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , , ,
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech