Everything You Need To Know About The Nikola Jokic-Mat Ishbia Altercation
After Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was suspended for a year, with a $10 million fine, due to a racism, sexism, and sexual harassment scandal, the NBA world decided in unison, that the punishment wasn’t enough.
With a lot of pressure from thin the NBA, its front office and its players, Sarver decided that it was in everyone’s best interest to sell the Suns and Mercury franchises.
In comes Mat Ishbia. The 42-year-old billionaire from Michigan, reached an agreement to purchase Sarver’s stake in both the Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and assume the role of team chairman.
Yesterday, during Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals series between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets, Ishbia made some headlines.
With just over two minutes to go in the second quarter, Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic was trying to get a loose ball out of bounds and got into it with some spectators courtside. As Jokic was trying to retrieve the ball he pushed a spectator with his elbow. The spectator however just so happened to be Ishbia, who was sitting courtside.
Jokic received a technical foul and a nearby fan (not Ishbia) was ejected from the arena, following the altercation. After the game, Jokic revealed that he does not understand why he was called for a technical foul, saying that Ishbia put his hand on him first.
“The fan put the hand on me first. 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? Sitting on the courtside, he’s a fan…”
Jokic’s head coach Michael Malone agreed with his superstar in his post-game presser, while not giving a damn about Ishbia’s role as Suns owner.
Malone: “I think it’s crazy that Nikola got a technical foul… He’s going to get the ball and some fan is holding onto the ball like he wants to be apart of the game. Just give the ball up man.”
Reporter: “The fan was the owner of the Suns.”
Malone: “I don’t give a sh*t.”
Whether there’ll be any additional punishment for Jokic or Ishbia remains to be seen. While NBA Twitter is hoping Jokic won’t face a suspension, it can’t be fully ruled out.
“TNT broadcasters just asked: Will Nikola Jokic be suspended for Game 5? Team execs are wondering this too since the rule book says a player should be ejected for entering the stands. Jokic technically just went courtside so there’s room for interpretation. We’ll find out Monday.”
TNT broadcasters just asked: Will Nikola Jokic be suspended for Game 5?
Team execs are wondering this too since the rule book says a player should be ejected for entering the stands. Jokic technically just went courtside so there’s room for interpretation. We’ll find out Monday. pic.twitter.com/8jBYdKgSOy
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 8, 2023