Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was assessed a technical foul on Sunday night for making content with Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia. The bizarre incident occurred as Josh Okogie crashed into the courtside seats where Ishbia was sitting. Ishbia ended up with the basketball in his hands. When Jokic tried to rush over and grab it, the ball went flying into the stands and he shoved Ishbia while trying to get it. Ishbia told The Associated Press that he was “fine” at halftime.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said it was “crazy” that refs gave Jokic a technical foul in that situation. “Going to get the ball, and some fan is holding onto the ball who wants be a part of the game. Just give the ball up, man,” Malone said. As for whether he cares that the fan was Ishbia, Malone remarked, “I don’t give a shit.” It’s unclear whether the league will suspend Jokic for the incident.
Nikola Jokic Shoves Mat Ishbia
Jokic also commented on the incident after the game. “He told me I was elbowing the fan, but the fan put his hands on me first. I thought the league is supposed to protect us. But maybe I’m wrong,” he told reporters.
Ishbia purchased a controlling 57% stake in the Suns from Robert Sarver for $2.28 billion a few months ago. Many fans on Twitter argued that Ishbia flopped when Jokic touched him courtside. “Ishbia knew exactly what he was doing by holding up the fastbreak by holding the ball and mixing it up,” one tweeted. “The NBA shouldn’t encourage that garbage. Back in the day they told Cuban to knock it off.”
Jokic finished the game with a game-high 53 points but it wasn’t enough to get his team the win. The Suns took Game 4 by a score of 129-124. The series is now tied 2-2 and the teams will face off in Game 5 on Tuesday in Denver.
Nikola Jokic’s Incident With Mat Ishbia