Ayesha Curry violated NBA etiquette with a “classless and incendiary” tweet after Game 6 of the league’s final playoff round, according to bombastic ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith.
Following the Golden State Warriors’ Game 6 loss in Cleveland, Ayesha Curry took to Twitter to suggest that the game was rigged for money or ratings. The tweet in question was subsequently deleted. Her husband Stephen Curry fouled out of the game, which in and of itself was an unusual occurrence, and then was ejected for tossing his mouthpiece.
Led by Steph Curry and fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson, Golden State had a commanding 3-1 game advantage in the championship round before losing two games to the Cavaliers, resulting in the 3-3 deadlock that will be decided tonight starting at 8 p.m. Eastern at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
In a possible history-altering event, the NBA suspended Draymond Green for Game 5 for which his team wound up losing, and since then, Andrew Bogut was lost to a knee injury, and Andre Iguodala is hobbled with back pain.
Basketball fans might remember that back in 2007, the Steve Nash Phoenix Suns were rolling to the NBA Championship when teammate Amare Stoudemire got hit with a suspension for the very minor infraction of leaving the “immediate vicinity” of the bench in the Western Conference Semifinals. Without their center, the Suns Lost Game 5, and wound up losing the series to San Antonio Spurs in six games. San Antonio then went on to win the NBA title over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Disgraced former NBA ref Tim Donaghy told Sports Illustrated that the Green suspension was a possible way for the NBA to prolong the playoff series by helping the team that was trailing at the time.
In a discussion of the Ayesha Curry quote on First Take, the chat show featuring the equally outspoken and controversial Skip Bayless (soon to depart the Worldwide Leader in Sports for a new gig on Fox Sports 1), Stephen A. Smith offered his opinion on the social media squabble.
“She stepped out of line. She stepped out of pocket. I’m trying to sound as appropriate as I possibly can. You are the wife of Steph Curry. What you do is a reflection on him. What you do is a reflection on the organization he works for. You have to be mindful of that. You can’t get caught up in your own individual emotions and having this zest to speak out, to the point where it compromises your husband.”
Smith noted that Ayesha Curry never brought up any alleged game rigging when her husband was winning two MVP awards, as well as last year’s NBA Championship.
Stephen A. (whose detractors sometimes refer to him as “Screamin’ A.”) then went on to draw a distinction between Ayesha Curry and Savannah Brinson James, the wife of Cavs superstar LeBron James, while effusively praising the looks of both women.
“If that was Savannah, LeBron’s wife, if that were Gloria, LeBron’s mother, what would we be saying?…Well, she’s wonderful inside and out. She sits there. She doesn’t bring any attention to herself. She never tweets and goes out there and calls out the league and stuff like that. And nobody, nobody is more scrutinized than her husband. But yet, she thinks about how she represents him, and as a result, she doesn’t do that.”
Although the media appeared universally critical of the Ayesha Curry “rigged” allegations, Smith also nonetheless seemed to be put off that what he called the “First Family” of the NBA, namely LeBron James and his wife, were getting less-worshipful coverage and enjoying far less favorability than “newcomer” Steph Curry and his family.
“Everybody veers toward Steph Curry,” he claimed.
In response to the Savannah Brinson comparison, Ayesha Curry took to Twitter (where else?) and chided Stephen A. Smith for “putting two women against each other.”
Parenthetically, in yesterday’s press conference, Steph Curry joked that might have to turn off the WiFi connection in his house.
In a follow-up, Stephen A. Smith used his ESPN platform to go back to Ayesha, stressing that he would never disrespect an NBA player’s wife and that there was no intent to pit any spouse against another. “When you’re out there tweeting and saying the things that you are saying, you are putting your husband in a precarious position. And I’m saying if that were LeBron James and his wife, it would have been treated differently by the media and by the masses,” Smith reaffirmed.
The often flamboyant Smith — whose views on sports-related (and unrelated) issues are all over the map — was suspended in 2014 for controversial, and some say misogynistic, comments about domestic violence.
Last week, during a discussion/promotion of the ESPN docuseries O.J.: Made in America, Stephen A. Smith declared that as a prosecutor, he would been able to convict O.J. Simpson of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. “Christopher Darden and Marcia Clark did an absolutely horrendous job as prosecutors…I would have won that trial,” he boasted.
Twitter is currently ripping Stephen A. Smith for sexism and “mansplaining,” but leaving aside the gender issue, many NBA fans wonder why criticizing referees for their sometimes game-decisive mistakes — such as questionable foul calls — is off limits. Even many ex-players, who transition to broadcasting, seem to tip-toe around critiques of the officials.
After Game 6, the NBA fined Curry $25,000 for throwing the mouthpiece, while ever protective of the refs, the league hit head coach Steve Kerr with the same monetary penalty amount for describing the least three fouls against his star as “absolutely ridiculous.”
“Apparently, Ayesha Curry isn’t allowed to have opinions about the NBA, but male analysts are allowed to have strong opinions about her thoughts,” the Awful Announcing website asserted.
“Plenty of Steph Curry fans, men and women, shared Ayesha’s outrage [about the ejection]. But according to Smith, one of sports’ most controversial bloviators, Ayesha crossed the line the minute she opened her mouth,” The Daily Beast insisted.
Do you think that Ayesha Curry was out of pocket, as Stephen A. Smith claimed?
[Photo by Gregory Payan/AP]