My biggest pet peeve in this year's NBA playoffs is the propensity for officials to take control of an early blowout and keep a team in the game. Right on the heels of that disturbing trend is another, equally annoying phenomenon sweeping NBA Nation: the "arms raised in disbelief" complaint to the official.
Before I write another word, let me issue a few disclaimers: 1) The officials are so bad in the NBA that they deserve all of the mocking and complaining that comes their way. 2) When I play sports, I tend to be a big whiner, so this is definitely me being hypocritical. 3) I am okay with most forms of complaining. The sneer (a Chauncey Billups specialty), the hands on the hips with the incredulous smile (T-Mac's forte), the hands on the ref's hips (Cassell), the fierce point, the mouthpiece throw, and the stalking-while-going-into-a-timeout are all very acceptable forms of showing one's disdain for a call. The one thing I can't handle is the outstretched arms. The look of disbelief. The near tears. The freaking stopping in the middle of the play to go beg to the ref. Seriously, what is going on?
I am about to give you my All-Star team for this particular gesture, but in reality, half the guys in the league could make the team. I'm forced to find serial arm-raisers and guys that constantly perform the arm raise despite getting almost every call, just to separate them from the average babies. It's an epidemic. A pandemic! (I forget - what is the difference?) Anyway, here is the NBA's All-Hands (Raised) Team (only players from playoff teams are eligible):
PG - Shaun Livingston. He's young, so I expect him to get even better at this. He gets bonus points for getting up probably 5-7 ARPG (arms raised per game) despite limited minutes of the bench. We might need some per minute stats to truly measure his ability. Plus, Livingston has really long arms, so it makes for an even more dramatic moment (call it the Tayshaun Factor). Livingston's backup is Steve Nash.
The two-time MVP doesn't complain all that often, but when he does, he never fails to look like a third grader that just got his milk money stolen as he races after the refs with his arms raised in disbelief. (In Nash's defense, he keeps playing while doing so, unlike most of the guys on this list.) Gary Payton - a former first teamer - comes in a distant third. I think his Heat teammates must be rubbing off on him, because other than Antoine Walker (who prefers the petulant stomp anyway), nobody on Miami really uses this move.