Julius Randle: Referees said I was too strong to get foul calls

By , Audacy Sports

Entering the 2021-22 NBA season, we knew there would be fewer foul calls because of a rule that has simultaneously frustrated a handful of players and pleased a good amount of fans. In years prior, players could contort their bodies to draw contact and subsequently head to the free throw line, which didn't sit well with a solid amount of NBA personnel, including Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

But that was the focal point of the aforementioned crackdown on that unnatural motion, and less whistles have been blown as a result. What we didn't realize that, in small print, they also wanted to call less fouls on... players who were strong?

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Apparently, that's what officials told Julius Randle, who was given that exact reasoning as for why he wasn't getting whistles.

"I don't know what they're watching or what they're seeing... as aggressive as I play, attacking the paint, I can't be penalized just for being stronger than people, and that's the answer that I got today," Randle said. "They said because certain contact doesn't affect me like it affects other players because I'm stronger, they miss the calls.

"...That's not how you officiate the game."

Seriously?! Is the reason why Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and several others fill out the top of the leaderboard for free throw attempts per game because they're weak? You love a player who's hard-nosed, goes up strong and doesn't flinch in the face of contact, but that seems to be working against Randle. He's still one of just 21 players to head to the line more than five times per game this year, but it really felt like he should have taken more than just a pair of free throws on Tuesday night.

Perhaps the strongest player that the leagues has ever seen, Shaquille O'Neal, had some words of wisdom for Randle after the game. Though he sympathized with his frustration, The Big Aristotle also told him that he just has to power through it.

"Play through it, big man. You are correct — you are strong, you're not gonna get all the calls. They're not gonna slow the game down for us," Shaq said. "So what you've gotta do, big dog, is make them call a foul. When you got them down on the block, punish them...

"Remember, nobody roots for Goliath. Nobody cares. The little guys don't care, they don't care about us big guys. But you can do it... stop whining, stop complaining, they don't care. They're not gonna give you the calls, but that's okay. Just play through it, big dog."

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