Every athlete celebrates in their own way. From Jason Kelce’s shirtless antics to a Thierry Henry pose that briefly led to “Henrying” becoming a phenomenon, the methods are as varied as the athletes themselves — from raucous to pensive. There are few rules of thumb to keep in mind, but one that seems fairly obvious? Don’t do anything that could lead to someone else being injured. Like, say, kicking a ball into the stands.
Unfortunately for D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, that was not advice he heeded at the conclusion of a thrilling 145-144 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. At the conclusion of the game, an elated Russell kicked the game ball into the stands. Two days later, the NBA fined Russell $15,000 for that action.
The announcement came via the NBA’s Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars. As the Associated Press reported, the ball that Russell kicked represented Steph Curry’s valiant attempt to get Golden State into the lead; it didn’t work.
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Admittedly, the $15,000 fine against Russell shouldn’t put too much of a dent in his wallet. Last year, he signed a contract with the Lakers worth $37 million over two years. It’s not hard to see this as more of a slap on the wrist than anything else.
And honestly, that’s understandable. It’s not hard to see why Russell (or any of his teammates) would feel a sense of accomplishment after such a close game. It’s also not hard to see why the league wouldn’t want a fast-moving basketball careening into the head of an unsuspecting fan. (This is also an issue for leagues where kicked balls are a little more common.) Hopefully Russell’s next celebration will be a little more restrained.