NBA players regularly fight with owners in the boardroom, but on Sunday, we saw a genuine on-court scuffle between one of the NBA's biggest stars and the owner of the team he is playing against.
The incident occurred late in the second quarter of Sunday's Game 4 between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets -- an eventual Phoenix win. With a close score and under three minutes remaining in the frame, Jokic blocked a layup attempt by DeAndre Ayton. The ball went out of down, and Ayton fell into the stands chasing the ball.
Jokic sensed an opportunity. He went to claim the ball so he could inbound it quickly and try to create an uneven fast break. The problem? The fan who had the ball was Suns owner Mat Ishbia, and when Jokic tried to get the ball, he resisted. Jokic seemingly shoved him as another fan, who would later be escorted off of the floor, pushed back. Jokic was assessed a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct in the aftermath of the incident.
Kevin Durant made the technical free throw, which tied the score at 55 in the second quarter after both teams had been trading leads throughout the frame. In a series that has been tight since Game 1, every point counts.
Ishbia declined to comment when ESPN reporter Ohm Youngmisuk asked him about the incident at halftime. .
Under normal circumstances, a fan involved in such an incident would usually be ejected. It's less clear what recourse the NBA will have in an incident between a player and an owner. At the very least, it is likely that the league will consider a possible fine for Ishbia, who disrupted the flow of play by denying Jokic the ball. However, his actions ultimately proved beneficial within the course of Game 4. He got the Suns a free point and fired up his crowd in the process.