Tristan Thompson was ejected from a game on Friday after showing some “competitive spirit” to one of his opponents.
During the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies game on Friday, the basketball player, 28, was ejected in the third quarter after he slapped Grizzlies player Jae Crowder on the backside. Crowder and Thompson used to be teammates during the 2017-18 season, when Crowder briefly played for the Cavaliers.
The slap was Thompson’s second technical foul of the game, ESPN reported.
According to CNN, the referee crew chief referred to Thompson’s slap as a “physical taunt” and Crowder, 29, appeared upset about Thompson’s actions in footage of the incident. However, Thompson denied any malicious intent.
“It’s a former teammate of mine, Jae Crowder. We have history,” Thompson told reporters after the game, according to Fox Sports Cleveland. “It’s just a little competitive spirit. They might have taken it the wrong way, probably because they might have forgotten that we were teammates for half a year.”
Thompson also said that he would “1,000%” attempt to appeal the decision on Saturday.
Tristan Thompson has been ejected from the game in Memphis. pic.twitter.com/HRja4hntt5— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) January 18, 2020
According to CNN, Thompson’s first technical foul of the game came after Crowder and Thompson were involved in a heated exchange in the first quarter. Crowder received a technical foul for the exchange as well.
After the game, Crowder told reporters that Thompson’s actions were “a lot of barking” with “no bite, obviously.”
“I’ll leave it at that,” he said, according to Fox Sports Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies ended up winning the game 113 to 109.
Earlier in the week, Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye West were in attendance at Thompson’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. (Thompson previously dated Kardashian West’s sister Khloé Kardashian, and the two share a daughter, True.)
The next day, Kardashian West, 39, cleared the air on whether or not she was heckling Thompson as she sat courtside. The mother of four had long been an outspoken critic of Thompson’s relationship with her sister, especially after his cheating scandal with Kylie Jenner‘s best friend, Jordyn Woods, in February.
“I was there to support him! And was cheering LETS GO TRISTAN!!!! I would never go boo anyone,” Kim tweeted in response to a report that questioned her intentions at the game. “I don’t go to hate, only to cheer!”