The highly controversial ejection of Stephen Curry in the 2016 NBA Finals continues to spark debate among fans and basketball professionals. Some opine that Curry's ousting was merely a ratings stunt. However, two of LeBron James' former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, vehemently refute this claim.
The crux of the controversy centers on a significant Game 6 event where Golden State Warriors icon, Stephen Curry, experienced the first ejection of his NBA career. Emotionally charged, he hurled his mouthpiece into the stands, drawing immediate attention and censure.
This curious incident resurfaced during a segment on the 'Road Trippin'' podcast titled "Truth or Trash." Host Allie Clifton posed the question of whether Curry's ejection was ratings-driven, which was met with incredulous responses from Jefferson and Frye.
Jefferson retorted, "What I am saying is it's not for ratings, and anybody who says that doesn't understand basketball. He threw it at the crowd."
Curry's Pivotal Ejection
The backdrop for this pivotal event was the Cavaliers' push to level the Finals series.
In the crucial moments of Game 6's fourth quarter, as the Cavs inched closer to forcing a Game 7, Curry, uncharacteristically agitated, was whistled for his sixth foul. He reacted by tossing the mouthpiece, which unfortunately struck a spectator.
This action earned him a technical foul and consequent ejection despite racking up an impressive 30 points that game. In an exemplary act, Curry later expressed remorse to the affected fan. Still, Jefferson and Frye adamantly deny the theory that this dramatic episode was a mere ratings gimmick.
Such high stakes naturally render added drama redundant. Ultimately, the Cavaliers capitalized on their momentum, overturning a 3-1 series deficit to clinch their inaugural NBA Championship. Interestingly, Curry's relationship with his mouthpiece extends beyond this isolated episode.
Earlier in the year, he was ejected and slapped with a $25,000 fine post flinging his mouthpiece during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Curry had a stellar performance with 34 points, propelling the Warriors to a 122-120 victory.
Notably, a similar incident involving Curry, his mouthpiece, and the Grizzlies occurred in 2017. In conclusion, Curry's signature mouthpiece, iconic as it may be, has indeed entangled him in a series of controversies. But as Jefferson and Frye insist, understanding basketball goes deeper than ratings-driven conspiracies.