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10 Most Ridiculous Fines In NBA History: Dennis Rodman Kicked A Cameraman, Mark Cuban Told Players To Tank

10 Most Ridiculous Fines In NBA History: Dennis Rodman Kicked A Cameraman, Mark Cuban Told Players To Tank

NBA players are generally very professional when they compete on the court and act off the court, although there are circumstances where emotions get the best of them. After all, athletes are just as human as the rest of us. They just happen to be in the media spotlight because they compete every night for fans around the world to see. For NBA athletes, the spotlight is often brighter because of how basketball is viewed as a global sport.

We see players get fined quite often by the league or by teams in order to maintain a level of professionalism that constitutes winning and culture. The league is well aware that every action by NBA players makes news, so controlling behavior is a big part of the NBA's management team. But we have seen some funny and even ridiculous fines get handed out to players, coaches, and franchise leaders for a variety of reasons. Here are the 10 most ridiculous fines in NBA history, costing each figure a hefty sum out of their paychecks at some point during a season.


Darrell Armstrong - Yelling Into A Microphone Before A Game - $1K

Darrell Armstrong, in the December of 2005, basically annoyed the hell out of Dallas sports fans despite playing for the Mavericks. At 36 years old, perhaps Armstrong was mature enough to tease Dallas sports fans after the Dallas Cowboys were beaten by the Washington Redskins in a football game. Clearly a fan of the Redskins, Armstrong grabbed a microphone and yelled “How ‘bout those Redskins!”.

For those who are unaware, the Dallas Cowboys catchphrase is “How ‘bout them Cowboys”, signaling that the franchise was successful in one way or another. Not to mention, Cowboys fans are obsessed admirers of the franchise, meaning Armstrong was way out of line as a member of a Dallas sports team. In all seriousness, Armstrong should not have yelled into a mic like that and he was fined $1,000 for his silly actions.


Tyrus Thomas - Saying The Dunk Contest Was “Free Money” - $10K

Tyrus Thomas

Tyrus Thomas was a high-flying forward for the Charlotte Bobcats during his prime, capable of exploding above the rim and finishing over helpless defenders with ease. The big man had a Dunk Contest coming up in 2007, giving him a chance to earn over $16,000 as purse money for competing and a chance to make a name for himself as a top-level athlete. Unfortunately, it did not go as planned for Thomas.

Tyrus stated that competing in the Dunk Contest was “free money” which the NBA deemed unsportsmanlike and not competitive. The big man was fined $10,000, essentially taking his purse to a little over $6,000 while everyone else received their full amount. It turned out the “free money” was not as plentiful as assumed, but the big man still earned over $40 million with his contact from the Bobcats so it shouldn’t have affected him that much.


LeBron James - Kicking A Water Bottle In The Stands - $25K

LeBron James is one of the greatest athletes ever, and also a sublime role model for kids aspiring to be celebrity athletes. James hardly has any off-the-court strikes against him, if any. The King is, however, an extremely competitive athlete who shows frustration in many different ways on the court. If he does not vent on teammates or even pout, LeBron has had evidence of lashing out without violent intent.

Upset about not getting a call during a drive to the basket, the Cleveland Cavaliers star complained to referees before getting benched for a rest by coach Mike Brown. LeBron kicked a water bottle into the stands when he came to the bench, although the refs never saw it. Had the referees seen the action, James might have been ejected from the game. Still, The King faced a $25K fine for a seemingly simple act that had a greater impact on the league.


Nikola Jokic - Saying “No Homo” During Interview - $25K

Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic is a funny character, from the way he looks to what he says in interviews. The Serbian center has a firm grasp of the English language and is always aware of what he is saying most times. The funniest moment came when Jokic said “no homo” to a reporter in the locker room. The superstar center’s comments came after Denver’s win over Chicago in an OT game at the United Center.

According to the NBA release:

“Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has been fined $25,000 for using derogatory and offensive language, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.”

The big man always speaks his mind, and even though his intention was not to be derogatory, it was certainly unprofessional and it cost him a nice sum of money that could have been better used in at least a million different ways.


Dennis Rodman - Kicking A Cameraman - $25K

Quite possibly the most deserving (and probably underwhelming) fine came towards iconic celebrity Dennis Rodman. The big man is considered the most eccentric player in NBA history, because he stood out from the rest of the crowd with his clothing, actions, and looks. Quite frankly, there probably isn’t another celebrity that was similar to The Worm. But one of the worst moments of Rodman’s career came when he was battling with Kevin Garnett for a rebound.

Rodman fell to the floor and seemingly had an issue with the cameraman, kicking him in the groin. Of course, those actions are not professional at all, and the NBA fined The Worm for $25,000. It would not end there, of course, because Rodman would face assault allegations and eventually had to pay the cameraman $200,000 while facing an 11-game suspension.


Dwight Howard - Sticking Tongue Out At Fans - $35K

Dwight Howard Charlotte Hornets

Okay, this one is more severe if we understand the underlying meaning behind Dwight Howard’s actions on the court for the Charlotte Hornets that resulted in a $35,000 fine. The center has always been known to play around and enjoy time on the court, but it went slightly overboard when Dwight “stuck his tongue out” at the crowd during a game.

His intentions were to provoke a reaction, and he certainly did that from the NBA. The meaning of Howard’s actions is considered sexual in nature, even if the big man might claim innocence in that regard. Nonetheless, the NBA fined the former All-Star for a hefty sum for most people. Considering Dwight has had multiple max contracts over his career, the fine might have been worth it for the fun-loving player.


David Kahn - Stating Michael Beasley “Smoked Too Much Marijuana” - $50K

David Khan

The Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled to build a winning team ever since Kevin Garnett’s MVP season, and that might be down to inconsistent ownership and leadership at the top. David Khan, former president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, was at the top of frustration for the franchise’s fans. Minnesota had acquired Michael Beasley in the summer of 2010, and there was hope that the athletic forward could reach his potential as a scoring machine.

During a radio interview, where a ton of public figures tend to get caught, Khan mentioned that he was greatly aware of Beasley’s troubles past and lack of professionalism. The president of basketball operations admitted he was hoping Beasley would get his act together, and that Beasley was just “a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana.” Clearly, Khan had high hopes for the No. 2 pick in the 2008 Draft, but the NBA was not going to accept that. They fined Khan $50,000 for his unprofessional comments.


J.R. Smith - Untying Opponent’s Shoes - $50K

This might be the most hilarious fine on the list. The great J.R. Smith, meme legend, has a host of boneheaded plays throughout his career. Despite being an effective scorer who could get hot in an instant, Smith was mainly known for his ability to act out in very strange ways. As a member of the New York Knicks, Smith decided to not be very professional and continuously untie players’ shoes in an attempt to gain an advantage.

We are not sure how big of an advantage that yields, but it was still funny to see Smith do this after he was told not to repeat it. Of course, the NBA stepped in after the shooting guard wouldn’t listen, fining him $50K for his actions. Head coach Mike Woodson was not happy, going off:

"I've always said I don't condone things that I know you shouldn't do," Woodson said. "No, I'm not happy about this. He was warned, he comes back and he makes the same mistake, it's not right. I just got the information, I'm going to address it [Thursday] when he comes in here for work. It's unacceptable. It really is. It's unprofessional. That's the only word I can use. ... You can't do that. You just cannot do it. ... At the end of the day, he's got to grow up. These things have got to stop."

J.R. Smith is known as a player who could act foolish at times, but this fine might be the funniest one that we have seen from a professional basketball player.


Vladimir Radmanovic - Snowboarding - $500K

Vladimir Radmanovic

This fine is so ridiculous but it is actually true. Before the 2007 All-Star Weekend, forward Vladimir Radmanovic figured he needed some time to enjoy some snow sports before resuming the season. After all, the Lakers were trying to figure things out on the court as they had a once-in-a-generation talent in Kobe Bryant who needed help from his teammates. But the forward opted to travel to Utah for some snowboarding, a trip that would cost him half a million dollars in fines.

Radmanovic separated his shoulders, essentially keeping him out for the majority of the season. He initially told the Lakers he slipped on ice and hurt himself, keeping the franchise from voiding his contract. A few days later, however, the forward admitted he went snowboarding against the franchise’s will and had to accept a whopping $500,000 fine which constituted about 10% of his salary for the year.


Mark Cuban - Telling Mavericks Players To Tank - $600K

Mark Cuban

It is well known that Mark Cuban is the most fined person in NBA history, having endured over $2 million in fines and probably much more than that. The billionaire owner does not shy from speaking what’s on his mind, which is probably why fans absolutely love him. Cuban has an assortment of funny fines to choose from (including berating referees and sitting on the floor by the bench) but his most iconic fine was when he told his own players to tank for a better draft position.

The NBA clearly wants to promote winning and players trying their hardest, and for the fairness of competition, the league felt Cuban’s outspoken remarks were out of line. Cuban came out to speak to Julius Erving on a podcast in 2018, basically confirming that losing on purpose was the best way to help the franchise going forward. He stated:

“I’m probably not supposed to say this, but I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option,’ ”

Clearly, Cuban had a point considering the Mavericks held an 18-40 record, but he greatly paid for it with a whopping $600,000 fine that will hurt even the richest of people. 

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