COMMENTARY | Chicago Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah was fined $15,000 by the league after verbally accosting each one of the NBA refs officiating the Bulls' 99-70 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
After receiving his second technical of the game, Noah erupted into a profanity-laced tirade and had to be restrained as his aggressively pointed and screamed "(expletive) you!" to each of the three officials.
Many assumed Noah would face a stiff penalty and possibly even a suspension for his actions. But new commissioner Adam Silver decided to lightly tap Noah on the wrists with a $15,000 fine -- $5,000 per expletive if you're scoring at home.
As the Noah fine was the first piece of discipline for Silver after taking over for longtime commissioner David Stern at the beginning of February, some are concerned that his laizssez-faire attitude toward player fines could have a negative impact on the game.
Tiny Fines Deter Nothing
Playing the 2013-2014 season for $11.1 million means Noah probably just had to dig around in his car's cup holder to find the spare $15,000 he needed to pay the fine. For a regular professional making $30,000 per year, Noah's fine would have been the equivalent of $40. That is not even the cost of the average speeding ticket. I think most NBA fans would gladly hand over two crisp Andrew Jacksons for the chance to publicly berate an NBA official.
Bulls fans never want to see their team's players hit with excessive fines, but I'm sure most of them were as surprised as I was with the sheer lack of weight behind Noah's fine. He certainly deserved a much bigger bite out of his bottom line, which has led many to fondly look back at the David Stern-era of the NBA
David Stern ruled over the NBA was a tyrant's iron fist. From implementing dress codes to vetoing Chris Paul trades, Stern liked to micromanage every aspect of the Association, and player discipline was one of the top items on his list. Based on players' past run-ins with Stern, Mount Noah is probably very thankful he waited until February to erupt.
Rasheed Wallace racked up $205,000 in total fines during his 18-year career, and most of those instances were for questioning the referees.
But in 2009, Wallace was hit with a $30,000 fine for simply calling Hedo Turkoglu a "flopper" during a postgame interview. Even though flopping has become an issue in the NBA today and players have even been fined for repeatedly acting like the basketball court is a soccer pitch, Wallace's bill was still double what Noah received.
Wallace said of Turkoglu, "They've got to know that he's a damn flopper. Flopping shouldn't get you nowhere. He acts like I shot him. … That's not basketball, man. That's not defense. That's garbage, what it is."
In 2011, Kobe Bryant was hit in the wallet to the tune of $100,000 when he directed a different kind of expletive at referee Bennie Adams. Bryant uttered the slur after storming to the end of the Los Angeles Lakers' bench when he received a personal and technical foul in their game against the San Antonio Spurs.
But the winner for most ridiculous David Stern-era fine goes to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The outspoken billionaire has been fined $1.4 million since buying the Mavs in 2000. In 2002, Cuban received a record $500,000 attitude adjustment from Stern for stating that he would not hire NBA ref Ed Rush to manage a Dairy Queen.
I could easily make the case that Noah's outburst was significantly most egregious, and certainly far more aggressive, than any of these other more heavily fined incidences. Which begs the question: Is new commissioner Adam Silver going to be a more laid-back man in charge, and is that good or bad for the game?
Dalton Russell is Chicago native and longtime follower of the Bulls. His championship expectations were irrevocably ruined by the Michael Jordan-led teams of the '90s and now impatiently awaits the next great chapter of Bulls basketball.
- Sports & Recreation
- Joakim Noah
- David Stern
- Adam Silver
- Chicago Bulls
- Rasheed Wallace