Boston Celtics player-coach Dave Cowens argues too forcefully and is ejected by NBA referee Richie Powers during the fourth quarter of this season-ending game at the Boston Garden (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).
This was the last home game of a very disappointing season for the Boston Celtics, as they missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The only reason I photographed this game, which would have no effect on the standings, was to get a picture of Celtic #1 draft pick Larry Bird who attended the game in Red Auerbach’s courtside seats with his agent Bob Woolf. Photographers swarmed around Bird to shoot pictures of him with Auerbach, but nearly all departed when Bird left early. I chose to remain for the game’s completion, looking for an emotion shot or unusual angle, and positioned myself between the two teams’ benches. After a questionable foul call against Boston, an infuriated Celtics’ player-coach Dave Cowens jumped off the bench and began jawing with referee Richie Powers. They yelled, bumped, got more and more irate, and Cowens was ejected. I was perfectly positioned for the entire confrontation between Cowens and Powers. I had so many good shots of their emotional discussion, it was difficult to select the best pictures. These photos later won many awards, but the big story from the game was Larry Bird’s first Boston visit, so the mundane photo of Bird was displayed large on the newspaper front page, while the phenomenal Cowens shots ran small inside.
1) Confrontations with officials provide terrific displays of emotion and facial expressions.
2) Periodically position yourself near the player benches, especially when a coach is animated or agitated.
3) Stay alert and ready to shoot because this type of photo op is often very spontaneous and unexpected.