An incident that sparked a heated debate on social media happened in the second quarter of Game 4 between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns. The Nuggets’ star center Nikola Jokic, who is also a two-time MVP, was involved in a sideline tussle with none other than the Suns’ owner Mat Ishbia, who is also a billionaire CEO and a former basketball player at Michigan State.
Why Did Nikola Jokic Shove Suns Owner Mat Ishbia?
The sequence of events started when a loose ball flew into the stands near where Ishbia was sitting with his friend. Suns guard Josh Okogie dove into the seats to try to save the ball, but it ended up in Ishbia’s hands. Jokic, who was eager to get the ball back for his team, rushed over to Ishbia and tried to rip the ball away from him. Ishbia and his friend resisted, and the ball went further back into the crowd.
Jokic, who seemed annoyed by Ishbia’s refusal to give up the ball, then extended his left elbow into Ishbia’s chest, pushing him back into his seat. Ishbia reacted by throwing his hands up in the air, as if looking for a foul call. Two security guards quickly intervened and separated Jokic and Ishbia, while Okogie retrieved the ball and threw it back to the court.
The officials reviewed the play and decided to give Jokic a technical foul for making contact with a person in the crowd.
Did Nikola Jokic Call Out the NBA While Reacting to Shoving Mat Ishbia?
During his post game interview Jokic was asked to explain what happened during the tense sequence to which he replied, “the fan put a hand on me first”. He continued, “I thought the league was supposed to protect, but maybe I’m wrong”. Many people feel that Nikola Jokic is calling out the NBA for seemingly protecting the fan, rather than him who allegedly wasn’t the initiator in the situation.
The incident sparked a lot of reactions on social media, with some fans defending Jokic and others criticizing him for shoving Ishbia. Some also wondered if Jokic would face any suspension or fine for his actions. NBA rules state that any player who intentionally or recklessly makes physical contact with a person in the crowd will be subject to discipline by the league office.
The severity of the penalty will depend on several factors, such as the intent, force, and outcome of the contact. The league has not announced any decision on Jokic’s case yet, but it is likely that he will face some consequences for his shove. The Nuggets are hoping that he will not miss any games with series now tied 2-2.