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Referee Tony Brothers #25 looks on during the game between the Charlotte Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers at Spectrum Center on January 20, 2024, in Charlotte, North Carolina. | Source: Jacob Kupferman / Getty

Of the 12 referees who were selected to officiate this year’s NBA Finals, Tony Brothers may not be the one whose name immediately comes to mind. Nor is he most likely to be casually recognized by his appearance – unless, of course, he’s in his uniform blowing a whistle and surrounded by giants on any one of the 30 basketball courts where NBA games are played.

But in some corners of the internet that are hyper-focused on the NBA and basketball in general, Tony Brothers’ name rings bells; and loudly. And while the reason why is not related to any call he’s made – and he’s made some controversial calls in his 29-year NBA career – it does have everything to do with something he allegedly said while working as a referee on the basketball court mid-game: referring to a pair of Black women sitting courtside as “hoes.”

According to Jeff Teague, who retired in 2021 after playing 14 years in the NBA, it’s easy to get on the bad side of an NBA referee. Teague shared his insights about NBA referees during an episode of his Club 520 podcast as the playoffs were set to begin earlier this year.

After discussing Scott Foster, another controversial referee officiating this year’s NBA Finals, Teague turned his attention to Tony Brothers. Teague, who said he doesn’t like Brothers, recalled how the referee was “trying to be cool” to him during an unspecified game early in his career as a member of the Atlanta Hawks playing against the Indiana Pacers.

Teague said his mother and aunt were sitting courtside and cheering for him every time he got in that game. The attention the two women paid to Teague piqued Tony Brothers’ curiosity, Teague said, prompting the referee to pull the young player to the side and casually ask: “Who dem hoes?”

Teague said he “lost it” after Brothers referred to his mother and aunt in the derogatory term. Brothers began repeatedly “apologizing” in vain, a defiant Teague said.

He explained that Brothers is the type of referee who will “try to be cool with you” and then turn around and make a bad call against you.

For instance, Teague said Brothers might refer to a player as the N-word without the hard R. But if that same player refers to Brothers the same way, Teague said, the referee might get offended and call a technical foul, a violation that doesn’t involve physical contact and is often the result of words exchanged.

“He’s a weirdo,” Teague concluded.

Watch the clip from the Club 520 podcast below.

Aside from that anecdote, all indications are that Tony Brothers is an upstanding member of society who, like all referees in any sport, is also fallible to human error and doesn’t get every single call correct.

The 59-year-old native of Norfolk, Virginia, has been referring NBA games since the 1994-95 season and has officiated the third-most NBA Finals games (16) of all active NBA referees. This year will be the 13th NBA Finals that he’s refereed.

However, his name has apparently been sullied in these social media streets, with an outpouring of memes and other posts demonstrating how people really feel about him.

Game 1 of the Mavericks vs. the Celtics begins Thursday night in Boston.

SEE ALSO:

NBA Finals: Kyrie Irving Faces Celtics 3 Years After Calling Out Boston’s Anti-Black Racism

2024 NBA Finals Feature 2 Black Head Coaches For Just 3rd Time, Technically

NBA Finals Referee Tony Brothers Is Internet Famous For Allegedly Calling Player’s Mom, Aunt ‘Hoes’  was originally published on newsone.com