Ishbia says Jokic suspension ‘would not be right’
May 8, 2023, 11:12 AM ET
Suns owner Mat Ishbia said he does not want Nuggets star Nikola Jokic to be suspended or fined over their altercation Sunday night in Game 4 of Phoenix’s playoff series with Denver.
Jokic was assessed a technical foul in the second quarter of Game 4 when he tried to snatch the ball from Ishbia, who was sitting courtside, and hit the Suns’ owner with an elbow.
The NBA did not immediately respond Sunday night to ESPN when asked if Jokic would face a suspension and/or a fine. But Ishbia took to Twitter on Monday morning to address the situation.
“Great win for the Suns last night in an amazing series so far! That should be and is the only story,” Ishbia tweeted. “Suspending or fining anyone over last nights incident would not be right. I have alot of respect for Jokic and don’t want to see anything like that. Excited for game 5! Go Suns!”
The league still has not announced any potential punishment for Jokic, leaving the two-time MVP’s status up in the air for the remainder of the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals. The Suns won 129-124 on Sunday to even the series at 2-2.
The fracas began when Suns guard Josh Okogie crashed into the seats while trying to save a loose ball. He landed in a group of fans on the baseline that included Ishbia, who held the basketball.
Jokic was trying to get the ball quickly — apparently so the Nuggets could start getting into their offensive possession — when he attempted to grab the ball from Ishbia. The ball flew backward into the crowd, and then Ishbia was knocked backward by Jokic’s elbow.
Jokic defended his actions after a game in which he had 53 points and 11 assists.
“The fan put the hand on me first,” Jokic explained. “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?”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Jokic was “going to get the ball and some fan is holding on to the ball like he wants to be part of the game.”
Information from ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and The Associated Press was used in this report.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.