RJ Hampton ejected after just four minutes: "I'm not going to let nobody disrespect me"

RJ Hampton dazzled in his first regular season appearance in Melbourne two weeks ago, dropping a then career-high 14 points, while reeling in six rebounds.

For that reason, one might have suspected there would be a level of comfort that would come with stepping onto the Melbourne Arena floor once again, though, this night could not have gone much worse for the 18-year-old.

Tempers flared just minutes into the New Zealand Breakers game with South East Melbourne Phoenix, resulting in Hampton's ejection just 4:04 into the game.

"Running back on defence, [Ben] Madgen gave me a little shoulder into my back on a screen, I thought it was kind of dirty so I came back, gave him a little shove, you can call it a flop or not if you want to," Hampton said postgame.

Teammates from both sides came running to the altercation as Hampton made contact with South East Melbourne Phoenix guard, John Roberson.

"Roberson came and pushed me, kind of gave me the same thing Madgen did and then he said something to me which I didn't like so I went for him and that was the end of that."

Despite leaving the struggling Breakers without their starting point guard for the vast majority of the game, Hampton remained on the front foot postgame.

"I don't really regret it. I regret it for my team because I let my team down, I should have been in the game but as far the way I handled myself, I'm not going to let nobody disrespect me," Hampton said.

"I know the games physical; I've played against physical people. Andrew Bogut is physical, Casper Ware is physical, but I think there is a difference between being physical and being dirty."

Phoenix head coach, Simon Mitchell scoffed at Hampton's claims that the play from Madgen was "dirty".

"The young fella, he called it a dirty play, he needs to better than that, it wasn't dirty," Mitchell responded.

"It's a tough man's game, a tough person's game. WNBL sets harder screens than that so he's got to get better at handling that."

"If that's the way he's going to react, he's going to see a lot more of it. He'll be better for the experience I think but there was nothing in it, nothing untoward."

The incident had all the makings of the cagey veteran outsmarting the young rookie, though Hampton refuted any concerns that opposition teams could use this against him moving forward.

"I'm not really concerned about that, it's basketball at the end of the day. I'm not a dirty player, I'm going to go out there and play physical and play hard. I think more basketball players are just physical, not dirty."

The breakout performance in Melbourne two weeks earlier had appeared to be a watershed moment for the soon to be NBA star, as he followed up that effort by averaging 14.3 points and 5.6 rebounds over his next three outings.

"You guys all see he's been a key factor, he took the opportunity he had, we have a need for him right now obviously.

He's played aggressively as we expected him to," Breakers coach, Dan Shamir said.

Ultimately, whether he wanted to admit it or not, Saturday night was a learning experience for Hampton.

Reacting to minor physical contact will always result in a quick response from the officials in the NBL, and neither the Breakers nor NBA scouts want to see the burgeoning talent hitting the showers early.

As the postgame presser wrapped up, only one question remained: What does an 18-year-old do when ejected from a game just four minutes after it tipped?

"I just watched the Twitch live stream on my phone, you got to keep up with it."