Thursday, April 25, 2013

Now That's a Fine Play!

Each year the NBA hands out a variety of fines and suspensions to its players and coaches. The NBA is, of course, all powerful, and therefore can fine or suspend you for whatever it wants to.  Some of these fines and suspensions are predetermined, such as the penalty for accruing too many technical fouls. We’re not really concerned with penalties like that; the really interesting fines and suspensions are the ones leveed by the NBA after the game is over and the league has time to review the tape.

Often this is how we choose to evaluate actors and actresses: we watch their performance and then later assess whether or not it was valuable.  This season the NBA has largely been judicious with their penalties: they’ve been consistent, and most of them were fines or suspensions that a player or team could reasonably expect. Yet regardless of their fairness, fines and suspensions always leave someone hot and bothered, even if what they did was ridiculous to begin with…which always leaves us rolling with laughter.

So without further ado, here are the best fines and suspensions from the 2012-2013 NBA season, broken down by category:

European Basketball Flopping
Did you know the NBA instituted a rule at the start of this season that allowed the NBA to determine if a player flopped after the game is over? Each player gets one warning, and then is fined $5,000 for their second ruled flop.  Here’s to you, Omer Asik, Kevin Martin, J.J.Barea, Gerald Wallace, and Reggie Evans for being officially designated as “pansies” by the league for over-floppage. Don’t worry, Zaza Pachulia, Gustavo Ayon, Royal Ivey, Tony Parker, and Donald Sloan – we know you received warnings too for not being man enough to play this game.  Oh and also, if you were curious, Donald Sloan now plays for the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Generally Being a Dick to the Refs
Another category of fines is the “ref protection” fine. Seven (7) different fines were handed out this year for individuals inappropriately interacting with the refs after a game. Five of these fines were given for public criticism of the refs – three of which fell on different members of the Mavericks’ organization! (Dwayne Casey and Byron Scott, the coaches for Toronto and Cleveland, picked up the other two, since they expressed their belief that the refs were all that were keeping their teams from being contenders.)  Atlanta’s General Manager Danny Ferry picked up a $15,000 fine for “inappropriate interaction” with the refs after a game, and the league ridiculously suspended Rajon Rondo for a game for making contact with a ref and “failing to cooperate with an NBA investigation.” Um…what?

On the other hand…
The league really should protect their refs from actual harm and danger. Paid, professional referees should be able to take criticism. But when a player, I don’t know, throws his mouthpiece at a referee after getting ejected, they probably deserve a one game suspension. Yeah, lookin’ at you Amir Johnson:

And I didn’t forget you, Joel Przybilla (who also wins every game of Scrabble and Words with Friends). We saw you throw that ball at a referee, and you found yourself out for another game as well. Wait wait, before I include this video, you have to know that when you type in “Joel Przybilla” into Google and press space, it auto-fills to “Joel Przybilla the Vanilla Gorilla”. I’m dying.

Our other two friends in this category are Jarrett Jack (verbal abuse during a game) and Larry Sanders (derogatory and offensive term in criticizing the refs). Anyway, my point is that saying the refs got something wrong should be ok – even saying they were bad. But in-game abuse, derogatory language, and physical danger should all be punished, especially when it comes in hilarious fashion like it did for Sanders:

Stuff That's Illegal in Real Life Too
The league can certainly be predictable in its issuing of fines and suspensions, and sometimes it has no other choice. Hedo Turkoglu, what else was the NBA going to do after you tested positive for roids? (But thank you, by the way, for taking the fall and being the “statement” the league wanted to make and sparing every other player).  And of course the league was going to fine New Orleans Soon-to-be-Pelicans coach Monty Williams for attacking the NBA’s concussion policy. And OF COURSE they had to suspend Matt Barnes for …resisting arrest…which is actually pretty terrifying.

That Time the Spurs Got Fined for Sending Everybody Home
Honestly, the NBA probably needed to say something when San Antonio opted to send home its four best players ahead of their match-up with the Miami Heat in November. I’m not sure it needed to be a $250,000 fine (otherwise known as "37 Minutes of Joe Johnson"), especially since the Spurs nearly pulled the game out anyways.

Physical Play
Let’s move on to the action, shall we? There were 7 fines or suspensions from aggressive and physical play during the course of a game. Rip Hamilton and Thomas Robinson both received suspensions (of 1 and 2 games) for throwing ‘bows. Ron Artest (MWP) and Matt Barnes surprised no one and each picked up a game suspension.  Charlie Villanueva and Dwight Howard had to pay the NBA for a couple of flagrant fouls they committed.  Will Bynum got a game suspension and under-the-table cash from every player in the league for hitting Tyler Hansbrough in the stomach.

Finally, things are getting hot and heavy!

Player to Player Confrontations (or, the “Honey Nut Cheerios” Section)
This section is reserved for the best confrontations we saw this season that resulted in fines and suspensions.  Two of these took place in or outside the locker room areas: Carmelo just wanted to follow up with KG on the fact that La La Anthony (Melo’s wife/estranged wife? what is that?) “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios,” and he immediately got suspended for one game, no questions asked. Zach Randolph and Kendrick Perkins each were fined $25,000 just for being thugs for their confrontation after they were both ejected.

Also falling in this category is the suspension received by Rajon Rondo (2 games) for attempting to fight Kris “pretty boi” Humphries, as well as the fines dropped on Gerald Wallace ($35,000) and Kevin Garnett ($25,000) for this incident.  The best part of this? When I was reading over the list, it took me about 4 seconds to realized that “Kris Humphries (Bro)” was how it was denoted that he plays for the Brooklyn Nets, not that the writer was just designating Kris as a bro. It was totally a possibility!

Almost forgot to include the Indiana Bruisers Pacers – Golden State Warriors brawl. “Brawl.” Anyway, Roy Hibbert and David “It took me 8 seasons to make the playoffs and then I got hurt, but good thing my team had a record setting shooting night” Lee each saw one game suspensions shot their way, Klay Thompson and Lance Stephenson each were fined $35,000 for escalating the fight, and Steph Curry was also fined for getting tossed like a little girl:  

“Below the Belt” Fines
Probably the hardest movie I’ve ever had to watch was Friends with Benefits.  At first, it’s difficult because Justin Timberlake, I mean who is ever going to live up to Justin Timberlake, gets to just hook up with Mila Kunis whenever he wants. And then, it’s still because he gets to hook up with Mila Kunis. And then he almost throws it away. And then it’s because he gets to hook up with her again…whenever he wants.

It was a royal punch to the man-zone.

So here’s to those players who have felt the same: Ramon Sessions (kicked by Dwyane Wade – one game suspension), O.J. Mayo (hit by Demarcus Cousins – one game), and Blake Griffin (Serge Ibaka with the donkey punch - $25,000 fine) – I feel your pain.  Although, if it makes you feel better, the NBA clearly feels just as strongly about protecting a player’s hardwood and basketballs as they do about preventing flagrant fouls and blows to the head.

Questionable Fines
WHAT ON EARTH WAS THE NBA DOING WHEN THEY FINED KEVIN DURANT FOR A “MENACING GESTURE”??  I mean, come on! COME ON! Here’s the play – an incredible block followed by Jarrett Jack deciding to play ye old “push my own man in front of this fast break and see if that works” style of defense.  Durant didn’t make this gesture at anyone in particular; he is looking up INTO THE STANDS. He’s hyped. If that’s a menacing gesture, then every time Lebron throws down a massive dunk and chomps at the crowd should be a $25,000 fine as well. Give me a break.

Well…of course we’ve saved the best for last.  The best (and by best I mean funniest) fines and suspensions are always the decisions players make in relation to their “audience” – the fans. Without further ado, here are the greatest 5 fines and suspensions of the season:

(5) Demarcus Cousins – 2 game suspension for a “heated confrontation with a San Antonio broadcaster”.  Honestly this was kind of dumb, since it didn’t get physical, and the dude was talking trash about Demarcus in the first place. Doesn’t excuse his actions…but…two games is kind of a lot.

(4) Jordan Hamilton - $25,000 fine for yelling obscenities at a fan. I won’t print what he said, you can read the caption on this youtube video. But dude, there’s a camera right underneath you. What are you doing. 

(3) Steve Blake - $25,000 fine for yelling obscenities at a fan. Blake gets the higher spot here for two reasons: 1. He’s a short white dude and is therefore much less intimidating to any fan. And 2. He walks all the way across the court to give this guy a piece of his mind…after he fouled out! That is showing some dedication to not taking crap from anyone. 

(2) Aaron Brooks - $25,000 fine for hucking his mouthpiece into the stands after a Kings loss. For starters, it’s surprising that Brooks cared enough to react in this way. My second thought is, wow that is really gross. And finally, at least he didn’t throw it at a ref? Check out the video here…he’s on the far right of the screen right after the last shot is missed. 

(1) The Kiss Cam is legendary. You get moments like people proposing, guys trying to kiss girls they haven’t ever met, and even the Obamas sharing a moment. At the end of one game, however, the kiss cam flipped to the end of the Boston bench. There it found poor, maligned Chris Wilcox, who promptly flipped the camera the bird.  And for that bold action, he receives a $25,000 fine and the number one spot on this list!

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