In an NBA first, comedian Kevin Hart won an MVP Award minutes after being ejected from Friday's 2012 All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game.
After a foul call with 1:09 remaining in the fourth quarter of the East's 86-54 blowout victory over the West in the annual All-Star Celebrity Game, Hart quickly proceeded to lose his mind (video: here) in mock-frustration over the officiating during the mock-basketball contest.
As if he were ESPN's broadcast director himself, Hart orchestrated his over-the-top shenanigans as viewers were turning off their television sets en masse, the lopsided affair having long been decided.
In his undersized tantrum, Hart first kept the ESPN censor on his toes with some off-color language (well played, ESPN censor) followed by an air punch toward an official, who proceeded to whack Hart with a technical foul, all while trying to contain her own laughter at Hart's absurdity.
Hart then proceeded to rip off his No. 5 jersey—which presumably represents the comedian's height—momentarily having issues getting the jersey over his head a la Paul Pierce, followed by his ejection in front of a third official who, like broadcaster Mike Breen, could not mask his own giggling ways.
After being tossed, Hart removed his shoe and channeled his inner Joe Maddon, Lou Piniella and Phillip Wellman in tossing the pint-sized sneaker toward the other end of the court, finally echoing shades of Lakers coach Mike Brown from earlier this month when Brown stuck around after his ejection to argue a no-call before taking a seat and spouting crazy conspiracy theories about referees being biased and mean, as Rick Pitino did last week.
In parodying the classic player/coach-referee ejection altercation by portraying the sheer juvenile behavior shown by an overly emotional player, Hart covered all bases save for Tim Duncan's famous ejection for laughing while on the bench and Rasheed Wallace's ejection for staring at official Ron Garretson.
For his histrionics and performance—Hart earned the game's MVP Award with just eight points and six assists, even though East teammate and United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had the best stats with 17 points, eight rebounds and five steals, a fact Hart alluded to as he elected to share his trophy with Duncan during the MVP Award presentation ceremony.
Pierce, Maddon, Piniella, Wellman and Brown all drew suspensions after their various ejections as did Rajon Rondo for throwing a ball at an official, while Tim Duncan emerged from his ejection with a $25,000 fine—instead, the official who threw Duncan out during that April contest, Joey Crawford, was suspended for the remainder of the 2007 season.
As for Wallace, the unofficial bad boy of basketball holds the all-time record for most technical fouls in a single NBA season with 41 T's over the span of 80 games in 2000-01. Wallace's career total of 304 technical fouls is also a National Basketball Association all-time record.
Could NBA Commissioner David Stern possibly suspended or ban Hart from next year's celebrity game because of improper conduct that makes light of the disciplinary aspect of officiating, a glorified temper tantrum that impressionable youngsters might find imitable?
Or will All-Star administrators get the joke and invite Hart back with open arms? Perhaps a mock fine and a two-minute suspension is in order—you know, start the game with Hart in some kind of a penalty box in 2013.
Perhaps a better question to ask is this: Is Hart available for the MLB All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game?
Gil Imber is Bleacher Report's Rules Featured Columnist and owner of Close Call Sports, a website dedicated to the objective and fair analysis of close or controversial calls in sports.