NBA fines limit players’ actions in games

By Symone Woolridge


NBA players and coaches are subject to be fined by the NBA for such things as profanity, fighting, criticizing and any acts of disrespect that creates a bad image of themselves and the NBA.

Players can be fined for nearly anything they do on and off of the court. This could be breaking a rule during a game, or even posting negative comments on a social media site.


The NBA has fined and suspended nearly 70 athletes in 2013. Recently, Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson was fined $25,000 for comments made Nov. 29 after the Nuggets defeated the New York Knicks 97-95.

Robinson was upset about the technical foul the officials called in the fourth quarter.

“They hate me, they hate me,” Robinson said after the game, according to the Denver Post. “I don’t know why, but it is what it is.”

Robinson went on to say, “I already know I’ve got the target on my back, but I’ll play through it. I don’t care. I really don’t. It doesn’t bother me none.”

According to an NBA fines and suspensions list, criticizing referees is the most common reason for fines given in the NBA from 2003-2013. In fact, players are not allowed to comment on any social media around game time.

The NBA enacted a rule in 2009 stating that players are not allowed to use cell phones or any other communication device 45 minutes before the game, and any time during the game, including halftime.

According to, the rule applies to players, coaches, and any basketball operations personnel. ESPN said the NBA is considered to be one of the major professional sports leagues most associated with Twitter usage.


Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was the first person fined under the social media NBA rule after complaining about the referees refusing to call Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith for a technical foul. Cuban was fined $25,000 for his tweet.

In games there are restrictions that prevent players or coaches from intentionally stalling to extend game time. Although stalling does not happen very often, a $50,000 fine was issued Nov. 28.

Brooklyn Nets coach and former NBA player Jason Kidd was fined $50,000 for intentionally spilling his drink on the court with 8.3 seconds left against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kidd held a cup of soda before telling Nets guard Tyshawn Taylor to hit him. According to game footage on ESPN, Taylor brushed Kidd on the shoulder, allowing him to drop his cup.

This forced officials to call a timeout, and Kidd was able to draw up a last-second play as the Nets were down by two points. After the game, Kidd and Taylor denied any intentional act. But after reviewing footage, Kidd was fined. According to Fox News, Kidd received the highest fine of the season.

Intentional acts are clearly against the rules, and have been for years. Players are fined for intentional acts and comments that may be found offensive. In June, Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert was fined $75,000 for using a gay slur.

According to Hibbert was also fined for cursing during his news conference after game six against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

Reporters asked Hibbert in the post-game press conference about his defense on Heat forward LeBron James when Hibbert responded with “no homo.”

While some fines may be thought of as ridiculous or taken too far, the NBA continues to hand out fines and suspensions for derogatory acts. Fox Sports showed a clip of Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard passing the ball to a fan.

Fox Sports said the fan was more than ready for the pass, and even immediately threw it back on the court. Fox said the NBA wants to discourage any action that could instigate malice.

Since Howard has been in the NBA, he has been known for having a funny and outgoing personality. The fact that he was fined for tossing the ball to a fan is a bit extreme and was not serious enough to receive a $25,000 fine.

Although tossing the ball into the stands is unacceptable in the professional league, he should have only received a technical foul. By watching the replay, fans were able to see that Howard only threw the ball into the first row of the stands. The fan barely touched it and immediately tipped it right back.

Although professional sports rules are constantly changing, players need to be aware of new rules.

For instance, the anti-flopping rule was put into play at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. According to “flopping” is defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.

An intentional flop at a crucial time in the game can cause the opposite team to lose due to an unfair call, and even cause a player to be ejected after a certain number of transgressions.

In the 2013 playoffs, the NBA set a fine amount for each flopping violation. said the first violation began at $5,000 and could reach up to $30,000 by the fourth fine. Brooklyn Nets forward Reggie Evans was the first player fined under the anti-flopping rule.

As almost every celebrity, professional athletes must be very cautious about the things they do. Fines and suspensions have become very popular in the NBA, and at least one is issued nearly every month.

As social media sites become more popular and gossip media websites are becoming a way to receive information, NBA players as well as other athletes have to prepare themselves for the consequences after their actions.

Symone Woolridge can be reached at [email protected] 

or 536-3311 ext. 269