Reasonable people can differ in their attitudes toward the “Kiss Cam,” the nearly ubiquitous form of mid-timeout in-arena entertainment predicated on finding presumed couples and putting them on the spot for a quick smooch to the cheers/jeers/laughs/whatever of the assembled masses. Some people think it is nice; some people think it is dumb. Some people think it’s a fun way to laugh at the president; some people think it’s indicative of a “subtle, grade-B homophobia” and that more teams should follow the lead of the Washington Wizards, who scrapped the goof early last year. Plenty of room for divergent viewpoints out there.
Boston Celtics reserve big man Chris Wilcox shared his viewpoint on appearing on the Kiss Cam during Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Apparently, he’s not a fan. From Jordan Raanan of NJ.com:
[...] The gag concludes when the camera pans to the opposing bench, where players usually laugh, fake kiss or just ignore the camera. Boston’s Chris Wilcox had a slightly different and less appropriate reaction. Wilcox greeted the 17,921 Wells Fargo Center fans with his middle finger. He was serenaded by boos and received an earful from an assistant coach moments later.
As it took place during a stoppage in play, with 76ers swingman Evan Turner about to head to the line to shoot free throws with the game tied at 74 at the 8:47 mark of the fourth quarter, the moment wasn’t broadcast by television outlets showing the game, and — thus far — no crowd-shot videos or images of Wilcox flipping the bird have come to the forefront. (If you’ve got one, though, you can always give me a shout.)
The response on Twitter ranged from amusement to horror on behalf of America’s youth to calls for Wilcox to face league discipline. On Sunday, the league swung its hammer, with NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson announcing that the 30-year-old, 11th-year pro had been fined $25,000 “for making an obscene gesture directed toward fans during a game.”
After the game, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe asked Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger — who was sitting next to Wilcox on the Boston bench when the Kiss Cam “caught” them — what actually went on. The rook’s response, per Washburn:
It seems that Jackson and company didn’t quite buy Sullinger’s version of the story, though I’m sure the vet appreciates the rook trying to cover for him. Maybe the next round of Sully’s freshman hazing will be a bit less severe.
No doubt enraged by Wilcox’s slight of their fans, the Sixers took out the Celtics, 95-94, in overtime on Friday night thanks to a game-winning bucket by Turner. On Saturday night, the Celtics — undoubtedly infuriated by the Wells Fargo Center’s game-operations crew’s blatant disrespect of their reserve big men — broke back in the second game of the home-and-home series, notching a 92-79 win behind 19 points from Kevin Garnett with Wilcox chipping in a vengeful eight points, three rebounds and two blocks off the Boston bench.
So Wilcox flips off the Kiss Cam, Turner flips off the Celtics in OT, Boston flips off Philly one night later and the league flips off Wilcox on Sunday. Sort of angry weekend, if you ask me, but at least the ill will’s evenly spread out.
Only Wilcox’s wallet is 25 grand lighter, though. In the future, maybe Wilcox will remember to just ignore the Kiss Cam, as he did when he and teammate Brandon Bass were highlighted on it against these same Sixers back in March:
Sure, it’s not as satisfying as raising the ol’ one-finger salute, but it’s way less expensive.
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