SLC Dunks

These anti-ref rants by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are the spiciest things to ever come out of Utah

March 04, 2021

Wednesday night, in a "best from the east meets best from the west" game, the 76ers beat the Jazz in overtime on the strength of what several Jazz players clearly thought were bad calls. Donovan Mitchell in particular was incensed, to the point that he got tossed from the game late in overtime. Among the beefs were several possessions when Mike Conley seemed to have been fouled as he drove to the rim:

At the heart of the complaint, though, is the deeply held Jazz belief that they're getting shafted because they're a small-market team. Here's Rudy Gobert:

"Our guys are not able to get calls everybody else in the f---ing league gets," Gobert said. "We know we are the Utah Jazz, and maybe some people don't want to see us go as far as we can go, but it's disappointing...that's why I told the guys: 'When you're a small market, you've got to be better than just better. You've got to be elite, and you've got to control what you can control.'"

Justified or not, it led to two very solid rants after the game that went very much against the ethos of Utah, aka America's Canada. Let's start with Mitchell, and a warning that there's some NSFW language here (if anybody still actually works in an office):

I personally love the general calmness mixed with the outbursts of anger. Here's Gobert, who sounds almost catatonic while still being mad:

Gobert's full comments can be read here. As to the idea that small market teams are treated worse by officials, it's hard to give that much credence. You can definitely see how a narrative of that type would spread among a team, but if there's anything to it, it has to be on the subconscious level. There were definitely some iffy calls in last night's game, but those are the breaks, and if there was an anti-Utah bias, well, would they really be in first place in the west? Still, a chip on the shoulder can be a good thing, and if there's some subconscious bias happening (or even if there's not), accusing the refs out loud might be of some benefit in the future. And if it yields up a few more spicy rants like these, we're all for it.