(VIDEO) Nikola Jokic's Unsportsmanlike Behavior Leads to Technical Foul
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 861
The Denver basketball team faced a challenging battle against Phoenix in the fourth match of the play-offs, but it was an incident in the first half that caught everyone's attention. In an attempt to preserve possession for his team, Phoenix player Josh Okogie dived for the ball, resulting in it landing among the audience in the front rows where Suns owner Mat Ishbia was also sitting.
Chaos Erupts as Jokic and Ishbia Clash
Denver center Nikola Jokic quickly attempted to seize the opportunity for a counterattack, which irritated Suns owner Mat Ishbia. Chaos broke out as Jokic tried to take the ball from Ishbia, causing some fans to jump up from their seats.
After a brief scuffle, the situation was diffused, and the referees watched video footage of the incident before awarding Jokic a technical foul for unsportsmanlike behavior. One fan was also ordered to be ejected from the venue for having physical contact with the Serbian player.
Jokic and the Suns owner. ð³
pic.twitter.com/Cvd2D4ADHA — Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 8, 2023
Referees' Explanation and Players' Reactions
"One of the fans was holding the ball, Jokic came to get the ball, grabbed it away from the fan," said referee Tony Brothers in a post-game interview with a pool reporter. "Then after that, he deliberately gave him a shove and pushed him down, so he was issued an unsportsmanlike technical foul." Brothers explained that he did not eject Jokic from the game because "there was some engagement," and deemed the technical foul the appropriate penalty.
Jokic expressed his confusion over the situation, saying, "He told me I was elbowing the fan. But the fan put the hand on me first. So I thought the league's supposed to protect us or whatever, but maybe I'm wrong, so we will see." When asked about the possibility of a suspension or fine, Jokic asked why, explaining that "the fan put his hands on me." Jokic also pointed out that "he's a fan, isn't he? He cannot influence the game by holding the ball." Denver coach Michael Malone defended his star player, saying, "I think it's crazy that Nikola got a technical foul in that situation.
He is going to get the ball, and some fan is holding on to the ball like he wants to be a part of the game. Just give the ball up, man." When asked if the fact that the fan was Ishbia made any difference, Malone replied, "I don't give a s---. I really don't care."