Watch Carlos Boozer Punch Ref Danny Crawford in the Nether Regions

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 30, 2013

In one of the most cringe-inducing moments of the 2012-13 NBA season, Carlos Boozer landed a haymaker to the jewels of referee Danny Crawford in the Chicago Bulls' 100-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on March 30.

It was a tough defeat for the Bulls, but Crawford somehow managed to avoid a far more painful fate.

After putting in a second-quarter hook and drawing a whistle against Dirk Nowitzki, Boozer wound up and unleashed a celebratory fist pump...right into the groin of Crawford. It was clearly unintentional—this would be a very different story if it weren't—but the potential damage could have been catastrophic.

Due to some combination of quick reflexes and a groin of steel, Crawford miraculously came away smiling. One explanation for the surprisingly good attitude he displayed after what appeared to be a truly devastating kill shot is that Crawford was trying to save a little face.

Of course, there's also a second option:


— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) March 30, 2013

And perhaps even a third:

Danny Crawford must wear a cup.

— Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) March 30, 2013

Really, the big winner here is Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, who until now had a strong hold on the title for the most egregious low blow.

MOVE OVER, NIC BATUM. THE NEW KING IS HERE. RT @nick_schwartz: Carlos Boozer punches a referee in the junk

— netw3rk (@netw3rk) March 30, 2013

Of course, Batum's transgression was clearly intentional, so maybe he's still in the lead.

The reactions to Boozer's unusual low blow were highly entertaining. But remember, we can only laugh about them now because Crawford escaped the accidental assault unscathed.

Nazr Mohammed immediately went to check on Crawford, slapping him five when he realized no real damage was done. Then Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau made a concerned inquiry, probably something along the lines of, "Dear God, sir, how are you still standing?"

Crawford laughed the whole thing off while the commentators cringed and yelped every time the replay ran.

All's well that ends well, and it appears Crawford is none the worse for wear—but just try and watch the clip without feeling at least a twinge of phantom pain.

Hollywood fight coordinators are sure to be on the horn with the league office soon. Apparently, nobody can take a punch like Danny Crawford.