Court Club Elite, the group that provides officials for the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships in Las Vegas, is terminating its five-year affiliation with the shoe company as a result of LaVar Ball’s demands that a female referee be replaced during an AAU game on Friday.
Ball — who was eventually ejected from the same game and later went on a sexist rant about the female referee — was ready to have his team forfeit and petitioned for the female referee to be replaced, which Adidas organizers eventually did.
“The events that led to the removal of a female official on Friday are something that shall not and will not be accepted within the officiating community,” Court Club Elite, an organization that trains and develops referees at amateur and professional levels, said in a statement to ESPN. “Adidas and their leadership acted in a manner that does not parallel our views on integrity or professionalism, and neither should be compromised as they were in this situation. It was clear that the actions of the official in enforcing and addressing unsporting behavior were defendable and fitting of the behavior displayed; however, the agenda and lack of courage to do the right thing by Adidas leadership sent a clear message that the game and those chosen to protect the integrity were not of priority.”
Ball threatened to pull his Big Baller Brand AAU squad, which features his youngest son LaMelo, off the floor after he was issued his first technical foul by the female referee in the first half of Big Ballers’ eventual 53-43 loss to Team BBC. Adidas organizers eventually obliged. After a long delay, the game resumed with a different official. Ball was then given another technical foul later in the game by a different official, leading to an ejection.
Ball went on a postgame tirade in which he said the female referee had a “vendetta” and “needs to stay in her lane because she ain’t ready for this.”
Ball said of the female referee, who declined to comment: “She’s a woman who’s trying to act — I get that she’s trying to break into the referee thing. But just giving techs and calling fouls, that’s no way to do it. I know what she trying to say: ‘I gave LaVar, I gave him a tech, I’m strong.’ That ain’t got nothing to do with it. Just call the game.
“If you’re going to be qualified, you better be in shape, and you better know the game. And she’s bad on both of them. She’s not in shape, she’s not calling the game right, and she don’t understand, so now she’s trying to make a name for herself. So she’s walking around like, ‘I’m the only woman in here.’ Yeah, we get it, I don’t care if you a woman or a man or whatever, just be good at what you do.”
The National Basketball Referees Association, the union representing NBA officials, tweeted on Sunday condemning the “appalling” incident and called LaVar Ball’s comments “misogynistic.”