Rudy Gobert “Shows ‘em the Money”

In a seemingly harsh, but actually pathetic response to the "show me the money" gesture made by Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (not to be confused with Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert) behind the referee's back in the closing seconds of regulation play in a game at Cleveland on Friday night, Gobert was assessed a technical foul — after having already fouled out of the game, which is supposed to be against the rules.

This allowed the Cavaliers to tie the game on a free throw (similarly, a player cannot be called for a third technical foul since he was already ejected from the game after having incurred a second such foul). In the ensuing overtime, Cleveland outscored Minnesota 16-7 (talk about a pity party!) for a 113-104 victory.

So maybe Gobert was onto something; the T-Wolves were one-point road favorites despite being 44-19 entering the game, the Cavs 40-22 — a difference in record that would not normally justify making the road team the favorite, when he made his what turned out to be a gesture that cost Cleveland the game — even though he was fined just $100,000 (see below) for doing it — when referee Scott Foster's back was turned, but Foster was informed by one of his assistants, Natalie Sugo, of what Gobert had done.

Guess omerta does not exist in the NBA.

And, as if on cue, the Timberwolves went to the Staples Center in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers in their next game two nights later, and lost 120-109.

Yes, Virginia, there are such things as pity parties.

If, instead of the $100,000 fine — Gobert makes an even $500,000 a per game because his salary for the 2023-24 season is $41 million — he was suspended without pay for the Lakers game. Now that would have been a "punishment" that would have fit the "crime."

Then again, professional basketball (and even more so, professional football) is a highly emotional game played by very large men. So expecting perfect stoicism from its participants is hardly realistic.

And on an interesting note, the Minnesota franchise was hit with far and away the biggest fine in NBA history — $3.5 million — in connection with the Joe Smith salary cap evasion scandal of 2000. Not only that, but the team was stripped of their first-round draft picks for five consecutive years (2001 through 2005, all inclusive), a particularly stringent penalty because the NBA draft has only two rounds. However, two of the picks were later returned to them — the first-rounders of 2003 and 2005. (Undaunted, the 'Wolves went a combined 250-160 over that five-year period, including a "Final Four" appearance in 2003-04; they lost to the Lakers therein in six games.)

All the NBA just proved is that one empty, futile gesture deserves another.

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