The NBA is full of wealthy people who sometimes do things they shouldn’t. There’s the obvious hooliganism—flagrant fouls and fighting, berating officials and using obscenities. The league has also taken measures to financially penalize players for subtler offences, including flopping, off-court issues and unsavoury tweets to maintain its professional image. Of the many instances we’ve seen, here are the most notable fines so far in the 2013-2014 NBA season.
5. Noah’s profane tirade
Chicago Bulls centre Joakim Noah will receive a $50,000 bonus if the East roster wins the All-Star Game, and $25,000 if they lose. If it’s the latter, he’s paying it right back to the league. Noah was ejected against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 3, 2014. The first technical cost him $2,000 and the second, $6,000. The call was bad, but Noah’s reaction was worse. The NBA fined Noah $15,000 the next day for verbally abusing officials as he left the Sleep Train Arena court. He narrowly avoided a suspension from Rod Thorn, the league president of basketball operations, by immediately apologizing for his actions. Notably, this is the first fine Adam Silver has handed out since becoming the NBA commissioner on February 1.
4. Nelson’s ‘big balls’
Down two points with less than 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson made a long step-back jumper over Chicago’s Joakim Noah on January 15. Nelson drained it and celebrated the old Sam Cassell way — by “carrying his big balls.” It’s the kind of adrenaline-fueled bravado that fans enjoy watching and prudes frown upon. As expected, the NBA slapped Nelson with a $15,000 fine. The Magic went on to lose in triple overtime, but it was worth it. This is one of the few NBA fines that are consistent in cost. Along with a flop at $5,000 a pop, performing the big balls dance cost both Brooklyn’s Andray Blatche and Milkwaukee’s Caron Butler $15,000 apiece this season.
With 8.3 seconds left and his team out of timeouts, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd appeared to say “hit me” to point guard Tyshawn Taylor. His drink spilled, causing a game break to allow attendants to clean the mess. This gave Kidd a chance to draw up a last-second offensive play against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 27, 2013. Kidd originally blamed his “sweaty palms” for letting slip his beverage at such an opportune time. Two days later, the NBA fined him $50,000 for “intentionally spilling a drink on the floor to delay the game.” Kidd did not deny the charge. Asked if he learned anything from the incident, Kidd answered, “No.”
As Dallas Mavericks forward shoots a free throw on January 5, New York Knicks swingman J.R. Smith is positioned on the key beside Shawn Marion. Smith bends over and unties Marion’s left shoe. It’s an immature and dangerous manoeuvre. The league office warned him not to do it again. Then Smith tweeted this:
Naturally, he tried it again the very next game during a conversion attempt by Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith at the foul line. J.R. Smith swooped down at Greg Monroe’s left sneaker, but the savvy young big man denied Smith the satisfaction.
League disciplinarian Rod Thorn was in attendance, and Smith was promptly disciplined to the tune of $50,000 for “recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct.” Thanks in part to Smith, the Knicks are leading the NBA in fines incurred. That’s $388,955 going back into league pockets. The Utah Jazz are last with a mere $6,000 in fines.
1. One final fine