Two days after having a pair of Indiana Pacers fans ejected from a game for their ‘obscene’ behavior, LeBron James has been hit with a $15,000 fine for his own obscene on-court celebration.
The fine declared by the NBA on Friday stems from James’ use of a celebration dance after hitting a big 3-pointer, which helped the Lakers clinch a 124-116 win over the Pacers in overtime. According to Yahoo Sports, over the last decade, the NBA has been fining players very strictly for using the popular gesture, made famous by Sam Cassell during his days as a point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Most recently, the Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet was fined for emulating the same gesture during a game in front of Cassell, who is now an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers.
In James’ case, the irony is that the gesture came just minutes after he insisted on having two Pacers fans, whose courtside taunting he felt had gone too far, ejected from the game. According to one Twitter user, who claims to have been sitting near the fans, one of them even made a statement in which she wished death onto James’ son Bronny.
After bringing the fans’ behavior to the attention of game officials with about 2:29 minutes left in overtime, the man and woman were asked to leave Indianapolis’ Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“When obscene gestures and language come into it, (it) can’t be tolerated,” James said in a press conference after the game. “There’s a difference from cheering for your team and not wanting the other team to win and things I would never say to a fan and they shouldn’t say to me.”
This is the second time James has been punished by the NBA this week. On Monday, the league announced the Lakers star had been placed on a one-game suspension for elbowing Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart, which resulted in an on-court altercation.
The New York Post reports the suspension cost James $284,000 in salary.