Every year, NBA players, owners, coaches and general managers donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity. Not all of their philanthropy is voluntary. In the NBA, it’s a fineable offense to wear a headband upside down, to publicly criticize an official, or to execute a chin-up on the rim. As you can imagine, some of these things happen quite frequently. Last Thursday, the San Antonio Spurs were issued a threat of “substantial sanctions” by commissioner David Stern after Gregg Popovich elected to bench Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green for a nationally televised game against LeBron James and the Heat. They were ultimately forced to pay $250,000, and it’s unclear as to which rule they even broke.
On Wednesday, Gerald Wallace was fined $35,000 for his role in an altercation between the Nets and the Celtics, and Rajon Rondo‘s streak of 37 consecutive games with ten or more assists was snapped by his ejection/two-game suspension that resulted from the same skirmish. With the league’s disciplinary measures really having come into focus over the past week, I elected to compile a list of some the most notable punishments in recent NBA history, along with all the unusual circumstances that brought them about.
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In what might be the most ironic punishment in NBA history, Tyrus Thomas was fined $10,000 for telling a few reporters that he was only interested in being part of the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest “for the free money.” Thomas ended up finishing in last place, netting him just $6,125 (all four participants received a guaranteed minimum of $16,125, hence Thomas’s “free money” remark). Don’t worry about his financial situation, though – the Charlotte Bobcats are essentially in the process of paying Thomas $40 million as we speak.
Exactly no one has forgotten about Joey Crawford’s little spat with Tim Duncan. In April of 2007, Crawford allegedly challenged Duncan to a fight before ejecting him from the game for laughing. Crawford, a notoriously temperamental figure, was given the indefinite boot for his indiscretion. Stern reinstated him for the start of the ’07-08 season, but his streak of 21 consecutive Finals appearances was snapped. Nowadays, Joey approaches his job with more enthusiasm than ever before.