One of the greatest thrills in attending a baseball game is catching a foul ball or home run. I wouldn't know firsthand, but it seems pretty chill. It's a free souvenir after all, and that's hard to beat. In basketball the only way a ball goes into the crowd is if something bad happens.
For instance, if a bunch of fans were heckling the referees and one of the refs took the insults, or a particularly unruly fan, a little too personally, then a ball might go into the stands. But it's not like that would ever happen in the NBA, and especially not during a playoff game with millions of eyes watching.
Or maybe it would, because it did during last night's Game 2 between the Magic and Celtics. Following a close first half, the referees approached the scorer's table to get their jackets for halftime. It was there that they encountered some rowdy fans who got a little too close. Joe DeRosa, an 18-year veteran of NBA refereeing, took exception to the taunts and decided to get involved.
As I'm sure you can guess, a referee throwing a ball at a fan — no matter how gentle the toss — isn't going to sit well with the NBA's front office. The fan was relocated for the second half, and DeRosa will surely feel some consequences. Ever since that whole Detroit brawl thing, the NBA has been pretty uptight about getting into fights with fans, though I can't imagine why. As such, the league is investigating the incident, and though it hasn't said so officially, it's pretty easy to assume there will be some kind of punishment for the ref.
Furthermore, don't expect DeRosa to be comped a room at any of the 7,090 Wyndham hotels worldwide. The fan he chucked the ball to, Franz Hanning, is CEO of Wyndham Vacation Ownership, so DeRosa is going to want to look into alternate accommodations. And if he does somehow get a room, he'll definitely have to pay to have an extra cot rolled up.