Why Do NBA Players Get Fined For Celebrating?

You may have seen Kyrie flipping off the fans as a celebration.

This and a lot of celebrations have been banned over the years. The league also fine players who do these now.

But why exactly do NBA players get fined for them?

NBA players are fined for celebrations that are obscene and vulgar. Depending on the severity of the obscene celebration, they can impose a fine anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 and more.

But what exactly are celebrations that can be fined? In this post, we dig deep into this plus learn about the biggest fines that NBA players have gotten.

Why do NBA Players Get Fined for Celebrating?

The NBA fines players nowadays for a lot of reasons even for celebrations. But these celebrations aren’t the normal ones you see all the time.

NBA players only get fined for ‘obscene’ celebrations such as the big ball dance by LeBron James.

Normally, celebrations are allowed in the NBA. Players can celebrate however they want.

But since the league is watched by many fans worldwide, they don’t want obscene gestures from players.

It makes sense since there are also many kids that are watching the NBA. Through the years, the NBA has been an inspiration for many kids worldwide. So, they enforce discipline among their players and the teams.

NBA Rules on Celebrations

There’s no NBA rule that explicitly states that players can get fined for celebrations. But they can decide who gets fined for excessive celebrations.

Since there’s no explicit rules that states what celebration moves are prohibited, we can concur that they don’t like obscene ones.

They’ve also banned a lot of celebrations by now. But new celebrations are created every season by players.

So, to help determine what celebrations can get fined, here are the guidelines:

  • Celebrations that use vulgar language
  • Use of obscene movements
  • Profanity
  • Celebrations that hurt others

By these guidelines, you’ll start to see a common thread. So, as long as the celebration isn’t vulgar or obscene, then it’s fine.

Players Who Received the Biggest Fines for Celebrating

Over the years, there have been several players who got fined for vulgar celebrations.

We thought it would be interesting to see which players got fined the most. Here’s the list.

1. Kyrie Irving ($50,000 fine)

We all know Kyrie to be a little bit controversial. But during a game against the Celtics, he directed profane language towards the Celtics fans.

As a celebration, he also put up a middle finger after hitting a tough shot.

There seems to be a lot of bad blood between Kyrie and his former team. But the league decided that the middle finger was too much. So, they fined him a hefty $50,000.

To this day, this is still the biggest fine for a celebration that the league has imposed.

2. Dwight Howard ($35,000 fine)

Dwight Howard is always seen to be messing around everywhere. He likes to be fun even when playing.

But when he played against the Cavs during his Hornets days, he got fined for celebrating. He did an obscene gesture with his fingers between his tongue. He was then fined $35,000.

3. Jimmy Butler ($25,000 fine)

Jimmy Butler has always been vocal about his feelings. He’s a hard-working player and he doesn’t let anyone bring him down.

But he might have been overly vocal with his actions when he did an excessive celebration back against the Hawks. He wasn’t even playing as he celebrated his teammate’s success with some hip pumps.

Obviously, the league wasn’t happy about this, so he was fined $25,000.

4. Dwyane Wade ($25,000 fine)

Back when Wade played for the Bulls, he had a great game against the Celtics. But after a shot, he hit the throat-slashing celebration.

Because of this, he was fined $25,000. But the cool thing about him is that he apologized on Twitter for his actions.

5. LeBron James ($15,000 fine)

LeBron James is typically a cool-headed and disciplined guy. But during a game against the Pacers where he hit a big three, he did the big balls dance.

It wasn’t that vulgar compared to the other celebrations on this list. But he still got fined $15,000.

What Does the NBA Do with Fines?

By now you might be questioning what does the NBA do with all the fines they collect?

Well, you can at least be glad that half of the fines collected by the NBA go to charity. Specifically, they’re distributed towards the official charities of the NBA.

The other half goes to the NBPA Foundation.

The league collects roughly millions of fines every season. There are lots of fines that the NBA imposes not just one celebration. So, you can imagine the amount of money that they collect.

Is the League Becoming Soft?

A lot of fans and even former players have said that the NBA has gone too soft. The celebration fines are a prime example of this. Back then, there were no fines imposed on these celebrations.

But now, we can see a lot of fines being handed left and right. Even though the fines are just a small change for players, they’re still irritating.

Basketball is a sport, so it makes sense that emotions run high during a game. Of course, celebrations are a natural response for players.

Although a lot of fans can agree that some celebrations are too much, some aren’t too bad.

Ultimately, we don’t want to see the NBA become enforced with too many rules. This isn’t fun to watch at all. As fans, we want to see personality from players as well.

But there has to be a middle ground. This is why fines for celebrations are a thing.

Final Thoughts

Players get fined all the time, but a celebration fine seems too much.

But upon closer inspection, the act that the players conveyed is too vulgar – which is why fines are imposed.

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