It wasn’t the elbow the city of Milwaukee needed, and it certainly wasn’t the elbow NBA referee Bill Kennedy deserved.
Kennedy ended up on the receiving end of a huge shot to the face at the beginning of Monday night’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New Orleans Hornets.
Immediately after throwing the ball up for the tipoff, Kennedy was leveled by the falling elbow of Bucks forward Larry Sanders. Sanders had jumped up to the win the ball, and on the way down, his right arm caught the referee flush in the face.
Kennedy remained down for several minutes—rubbing his head and presumably trying to remember how to conjugate verbs—but eventually regained his feet and would go on to officiate the rest of the game.
Clearly, Sanders' elbow was unintentional, but it certainly adds to the number of ridiculous interactions he’s had with referees this season.
Earlier this month, Sanders made waves by giving referees the “thumbs up” after being ejected from a game against the Washington Wizards. He also received a $50,000 fine for needling officials with criticism after an ejection from a game against the Miami Heat in March. His total of 14 technical fouls on the season is tied for most in the league.
Regardless of his prior (sometimes hilarious) behavior toward officials, you cannot put this one on Sanders. You have to give Kennedy credit for recovering from a shot to the head that would end most big-horn sheep.
On Twitter, where losing brain cells doesn’t require blunt force trauma: Dr__Carson