The NBA has fined LeBron James $15,000 for making an “obscene gesture” during the Los Angeles Lakers 124-116 win against the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers star performed the gesture, which is commonly referred to as the “Sam Cassell dance,” after hitting a clutch three-point shot in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet was fined the same amount for the gesture. Over the years, several players have been fined for the celebration, including Marco Belinelli, Caron Butler, Eddie Jones, and Jameer Nelson.
Cassell, the former NBA point guard and current Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach, popułarized the dance in 2004 after watching the 1994 film “Major League II,” in which a player taunts others with the same gesture. “I just took it and I ran with it,” Cassell told The Athletic in 2019.
James returned to the court Wednesday after serving a one-game suspension for an on-court altercation involving Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart. Both James and Stewart tried securing a position for a rebound — but as Stewart pushed James, the Lakers star swung his arm, striking Stewart and bloodying his eye. James reached out his arm, but Stewart attempted to confront him, causing security, players and coaches to break up a potential fight.
Both players were ejected from the game. Stewart was suspended for two games and James for one. James claimed he never meant to strike Stewart and called his suspension “some bull****.”
“I hate to see that, what escalated after that,” James told reporters. “I didn’t think (a suspension) warranted. I thought it warranted an ejection.”
However, Stewart said he “didn’t feel like it was an accident.”
The NBA also said James was warned for using profane language while speaking to the media about his suspension.
Tori B. Powell is a breaking news reporter at CBS News. Reach her at [email protected]
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