NBA has a history of hefty fines for teams, players, and owners. Notable fines include $500,000 penalties for multiple teams, Dallas Mavericks' Mark Cuban's record $4 million in fines, the Minnesota Timberwolves' $3.5 million fine, and Donald Sterling's $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban for racist comments.
The NBA, where amazing things happen, has seen its share of problems and people getting in trouble. Let’s talk about those times when players, team bosses, and bigwigs got fined for their actions, even though they’re usually praised for their skills and achievements.
Let’s take a look at some of the top fines in NBA history and the reasons behind them.
$500,000 – Multiple Teams/Players, Including Warriors Owner Joe Lacob
The NBA has had its fair share of moments when a collective punishment was meted out to multiple individuals and teams. One such incident occurred in 2006 when the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks were involved in a heated game. After a hard foul by Mardy Collins on JR Smith, a brawl erupted, resulting in both teams being fined $500,000 by the league.
In 2007, the then-Lakers forward Vladimir Radmanovic found himself in hot water. He suffered a separated shoulder during a ski trip and initially lied about it to his team. Violating the NBA contract rules that require players to avoid non-basketball-related injuries, Radmanovic was fined $500,000.
In 2010, Joe Dumars, the former Detroit Pistons’ basketball operations leader, was fined $500,000 for leaking confidential NBA memos to insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA’s investigation led to this hefty fine, tarnishing Dumars’ reputation.
During the 2011 NBA lockout, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison expressed his frustration on Twitter regarding ongoing CBA negotiations. Despite quickly deleting his tweets, he was still fined $500,000 for his comments.
In the 2019 NBA Finals, Warriors investor Mark Stevens pushed Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry after he dove into the stands. This incident resulted in a $500,000 fine for Stevens, along with a year-long ban from team events and activities.
Most recently, Warriors owner Joe Lacob was fined $500,000 for criticizing the NBA’s current CBA and salary cap system. Lacob’s comments, labeling the current CBA as “unfair” after exceeding the luxury tax threshold, led to this substantial fine.
$750,000 – Dallas Mavericks | $600,000 and $500,000 (2X) – Mavs Owner Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, holds the record for the most fined individual in NBA history. His outspoken nature has cost him approximately $4 million in fines. The Mavs received a $750,000 fine for resting key players in an elimination game during the 2022-23 season to secure a better draft pick.
Cuban’s largest personal fine, $600,000, came in 2018 when he openly discussed tanking for high draft picks. He was fined $500,000 in both 2002 and 2020 for complaining about referees.
$3.5 Million – Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the record for the largest fine in NBA history, with a whopping $3.5 million penalty. In 2000, the Timberwolves were fined for their involvement in a scandal involving first-overall pick Joe Smith. Smith had signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal to help the team circumvent salary cap rules. The NBA uncovered this under-the-table deal, leading to a massive fine and the loss of first-round draft picks until 2005.
In the world of professional basketball, these fines serve as a reminder that no one is above the rules and regulations of the game. While we celebrate the NBA’s incredible talent, we also recognize the importance of enforcing discipline to maintain the integrity of the sport.
$2.5 Million – Donald Sterling
The former Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, faced a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban from the NBA in 2014 for making racist comments during a phone call with his ex-girlfriend. This was the maximum fine allowed for such an infraction, and Sterling ultimately sold the team for $2 billion to Steve Ballmer.
Why NBA is so strict with rules and discipline
The NBA has strict rules to make sure games are fair and safe and that the league has a good reputation. They use different ways to make sure players follow the rules. One way is by giving players technical and flagrant fouls when they do something wrong during games.
These fouls are like warnings and can be for small or big mistakes. The NBA also gives fines and suspensions to players who break the rules. Fines are like money penalties, and suspensions mean the player can’t play in games for some time.