Kane Fitzgerald made NBA history on Tuesday night when he became the first official with the balls to toss LeBron James from a game—and he apparently didn’t even need that much ammo to justify giving the four-time MVP the heave.
Mostly, Fitzgerald took offense to LeBron’s swinging his arm in the air and using big-boy words.
“It was a culmination of a couple [of] different acts,” Fitzgerald told reporters after the game. “Immediately after the no-call, he turned and threw an air punch directly at me, and then he aggressively charged at me, and then he used vulgarity in my ear a few times.”
The gall. The humanity. For how many seasons should LeBron be suspended for uttering words that can be used no more than once in a PG-13 movie?
Fitzgerald also admitted that he hadn’t hit LeBron with two technicals, which earn an automatic ejection. He’d administered one before deciding to toss the Cleveland Cavaliers star from his squad’s 108-97 victory over the Miami Heat.
“I actually only did assess one technical,” said Fitzgerald, in his eighth season as an NBA official. “He was ejected on one technical foul.”
His explanation didn’t fly with some.
Kane Fitzgerald gave a laughable explanation for why he ejected LeBron James. He basically said he was afraid of bodily injury from him. Yes. In front of 20,000 people and a national TV audience…
— Jason Smith (@howaboutafresca) November 29, 2017
And Draymond Green doesn’t do this literally every game?
— a real grown up (@LeBornLames) November 29, 2017
Did anything before the confrontation contribute to the ejection?
“No, nothing at all.”
Connoisseurs of the early days of the NBA G-League (then the D-League) might have seen this coming. Before joining the NBA ranks in 2010-11, Fitzgerald was a ref in the league’s minors, where he once administered five technicals in a single game, including three at once.