NBA Issues Ruling On Nikola Jokic, Mat Ishbia Incident

By Jason Hall

May 8, 2023

Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns - Game Four
Photo: Getty Images

The National Basketball Association has fined Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic $25,000 for "making improper contact with a spectator sitting courtside," but will not be suspended in relation to an incident involving Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia during Game 4 of the Western Conference Playoffs semifinals series in Phoenix Sunday (May 7) night, Basketball Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, the NBA Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations, announced in a press release shared on behalf of the league.

Jokic, the back-to-back NBA MVP for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, was called for a technical foul after he attempted to snatch the ball from Ishbia, who was sitting courtside at the time and hit the billionaire with an elbow during the second quarter of the Suns' 129-124 win.

The incident took place after Suns guard Josh Okogie crashed into fans while attempting to save a loose ball, landing in a group of fans sitting on the baseline, which included Ishbia, who caught and held the basketball. Jokic attempted to quickly grab the ball to start the Nuggets' possession, but it instead flew backward into the crowd before his elbow knocked Ishbia backward.

"The fan put the hand on me first," Jokic said via ESPN. "I thought the league was supposed to protect us. Maybe I am wrong. I know who he is, but he is a fan. Isn't he?"

On Monday (May 8), Ishbia said it would be not be right" for the NBA to suspend Jokic in relation to the incident.

"Great win for the Suns last night in an amazing series so far! That should be and is the only story," Ishbia tweeted on Monday (May 8). "Suspending or fining anyone over last nights incident would not be right. I have alot of respect for Jokic and don't want to see anything like that. Excited for game 5! Go Suns!"

The Suns tied the series at 2-2 with Sunday's win at home.

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