As expected, LeBron James has been fined $15,000 for doing the “big balls dance” popularized by Sam Cassell in the Lakers’ win vs. the Indiana Pacers, the league announced on Friday.
In addition to the fine for the “obscene gesture,” the league also wrote in a statement that James was “warned for using profane language during media availability in response to league-imposed discipline,” a likely reference to James telling Dave McMenamin of ESPN that the league’s decision to suspend him one game for hitting Isaiah Stewart was “some bullshit.”
The full statement can be ready below:
The following was released by the NBA pic.twitter.com/zdlvoJQUs3— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) November 27, 2021
The fine was not a surprise, because — as outlined by Jovan Buha of The Athletic in a hilarious story talking to Cassell about his invention — the NBA has been fining players between $15,000 and $25,000 for the dance since the 2010-11 season.
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet was fined the same amount as James for doing it earlier this month. At the time of Buha’s story in 2019, the most recent player to get fined for the dance was... then Laker Julius Randle, who was hit with a $15K fine for doing the dance after a 2016 Lakers win over the Heat.
So, as bizarre as fining players actual money for a silly, slight juvenile celebration is in the year 2021, the NBA has at least been consistent on this. That may be why James deleted his (hilarious) Instagram post joking about the moment:
Bron might have been hitting the wine a little too hard last night pic.twitter.com/aEAQiXbupT— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) November 26, 2021
This is all, again, really dumb, but we should at least thank James for being willing to spend his own money to give fans a moment to laugh about. With as up-and-down as this season has been, he probably knew everyone watching this team could use some whimsy. And considering James is making $41 million this year, he will likely be just fine.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.