BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: DerMarr Johnson calls his own shots

DerMarr Johnson pulled double duty as player-coach for 3's Company with Allen Iverson suspended. Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Last year, the NBA started a hotline where players could call and discuss the officiating. It's a safe space to dispute technicals, accuse refs of bias, and generally blow off steam about the NBA and its rules. Not to be outdone, the BIG3 has followed suit with a referee hotline of its own, where a player can phone up to discuss the freewheeling three-on-three basketball that often gets as heated as Stan Van Gundy asked to pay full price for casual men's wear. Keep in mind, all of these responses are about as real as Rick Barry's hairline. We know when that hotline blings, that can only mean one thing: Someone is calling from Allen Iverson's phone.

DerMarr Johnson vs. Allen Iverson

Dear DerMarr Johnson,

Congratulations on your second straight victory as a head coach! With the absence of Allen Iverson, 3’s Company is finally allowed to play YOUR brand of 3-on-3 basketball, a coaching turnaround we haven’t seen since Tyronn Lue took over the Cavs or when that creepy teenager inherited the Minnesota Twins in "Little Big League."

Ice Cube suspended Iverson for the weekend in Kentucky, and while we don’t know how that call went, we do know where it went: straight to voicemail. It’s not true that it was an empty gesture, since Iverson wasn’t going to Kentucky in the first place. No, that was just coincidence. And to prove it, Ice Cube has announced the following disciplinary measures:

  • Bonzi Wells must wear a headband at all times.
  • 48-year-old Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is not allowed to dunk.
  • Chauncey Billups must miss at least one four-pointer every game.
  • DeShawn Stevenson’s tattoo artist must never ask, “Are you sure?” before beginning a piece.
  • Rick Barry must emphasize the obviousness of his hair plugs by also dyeing his hair an unnatural shade of orange.

Hopefully this will send an important message to the players, and that message is, “Please pretend like we have any authority over you at all.”

Pleadingly Yours,

BIG3 Referee Hotline

Stephen Jackson vs. Charles Oakley

Dear Stephen Jackson,

Once again, you played valiantly in a game that the Killer 3s just couldn’t put away. And once again, you weren’t allowed to rest. You played a whopping 52 minutes in the game this week, a minutes total that even Tom Thibodeau thinks is excessive. There’s insomniacs on Adderall that rest more than you did.

We suspect it dates back to last week, when you yelled at Oakley for taking you out for arguing.

You said the team couldn’t win if you were on the bench. Now you’re playing 52 minutes! It seems like Oakley treated you like a kid who gets caught smoking cigarettes, and his dad makes him smoke the whole pack. Of course, basketball is way less dangerous, but it leads to one of the deadliest basketball diseases there is: locker room cancer.

Stack Jack, it might be too late for the Killer 3s to save their season, but if you really want to stick it to your coach, there’s an easy solution. Invite Knicks owner James Dolan and his band, JD & The Straight Shot, to play at halftime this Sunday. Oak will be so furious he won’t even notice you.

Exxhaustedly Yours,

BIG3 Referee Hotline

Kwame Brown vs. Logic

Dear Kwame Brown,

Thank you for your call, but you didn’t need to tell us you took a four-pointer last week. We already know. Maybe seeing Brian Scalabrine make a three-pointer convinced you anything was possible. But somehow, even though you’ve been airballing free throws, you decided to take the most difficult shot on the BIG3 court. That was the biggest Kwame Brown stretch since the Wizards picked you No. 1. They call that a Hail Mary in football, but this was the Liturgy of Hours, the longest possible prayer there is. If you made that shot, they should have awarded you 40 points and shut down the BIG3 for good, because that highlight would have never been matched.

Other than that, you played great. Congratulations on making the playoffs, and don’t worry about playing in the Staples Center next week! It is extremely unlikely that Kobe Bryant will be there to yell at you. Will he make an animated "Musecage" episode about you where a puppet gets drafted by a mean old man who stunts his development? Probably.

Pointedly Yours,

BIG3 Referee Hotline

Paul McPherson vs. Al Harrington

Dear Mr. McPherson,

We looked at the footage, and we’ve decided to uphold the technical foul you received for throwing the ball at Al Harrington. Any time someone passes the ball in the BIG3, the league office is automatically suspicious, particularly when it’s the other team. Clearly this was a conscious team-wide effort to play physical against the undefeated league leaders — both DeShawn Stevenson and Rasual Butler jawed with Kenyon Martin after he blocked their shots, and you racked up eight fouls, which is more than three teams had in total.

Mr. McPherson, your team is talented, but this may not be the right opponent to intimidate. Kenyon Martin once fought Corey Maggette when his team was up by 26 points. Rashad McCants still gets mad when you mention he dated Khloe Kardashian eight years ago. James White is the only BIG3 player with an endorsement deal from Haterade. And Al Harrington was a longtime Indiana Pacer who missed both the Malice in the Palace brawl and the Club Rio strip club fight — he’s itching to finally get in a serious fight. He’s like a politician who dodged the draft who compensates by getting really gung-ho about war. Al is about to pick a fight with North Korea on Twitter, so watch yourself if you meet up in the playoffs.

In all honesty, if you’d thrown the ball at Stephen Jackson you would probably still have chunks of the basketball inside your body right now. Take it easy!

Concernedly yours,

BIG3 Referee Hotline

Bonzi Wells vs. the Referees

Dear Bonzi Wells,

The league has decided to uphold your technical foul for arguing. The play was questionable, but if you’re complaining about Mike Bibby playing too physical, that’s a tough argument to make. Mike Bibby doesn’t need to get physical! That’s the job of his entourage, Team Dime, and sometimes Scot Pollard.

We did wonder if you were trying to get more technicals as the game progressed. Minutes later, you got a dunk and hung on the rim so gratuitously that your knees were at the rim. You even got in Joe Smith’s face, and trust us, if you’re playing against him, you don’t want to get Joe Smith kicked out of the game. You don’t even want him to come out for rests, water breaks or halftime.

Our theory? You remember the good old days with the Jail Blazers, and you believe you feed on technicals. Every time a whistle blows it makes you stronger, like a BIG3 version of the worst X-Man of all time, Dazzler. It worked out, since Tri-State pulled the huge upset, but I hope this doesn’t encourage you for next week when you play Power. You may think you’re crazy, but DeShawn Stevenson has a neck tattoo of Abe Lincoln, and there’s nothing crazier than that.

Honestly yours,

BIG3 Referee Hotline

Sean Keane is a comedian residing in Los Angeles. He has written for "Another Period," "Billy On The Street," NBC, Comedy Central, E!, and Seeso. You can see him doing fake news every weekday on @TheEverythingReport and read his tweets at @seankeane. In 2014, the SF Bay Guardian named him the best comedian in San Francisco, then immediately went out of business.


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