Jimmy Butler thought that the Miami Heat’s first-round playoff series win over the Atlanta Hawks was a time to celebrate unabashedly; however, the NBA didn’t feel the same.
On Thursday, the league announced that Butler and the team were fined $15,000 after their series-clinching win when Butler delivered what the league deemed “an obscene gesture.”
The announcement was made by Byron Spruell, President of League Operations, with the Heat organization also being fined $15,000 for posting Butler’s in-your-face moment to social media.
The NBA just fined Jimmy Butler $15K for making an obscene gesture
They also fined the Miami Heat organization $15K for making a GIF out of it 😂 pic.twitter.com/ltZp8hNYIB
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 28, 2022
To Celebrate Or Not To Celebrate?
However, in a world where social media is the new promotional street team, the question is what is the new standard of celebration and promotion, and what are the parameters to relish in victory?
Butler has averaged 30.5 points per game, which is the second-best in the league during the postseason. However, he sat out for Game 5 due to a reported inflammation in his right knee.
Butler’s celebration was done from the bench, and it was as polarizing for national television audiences as it was raunchy.
The celebration was satisfying for a 2020 Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat team that lost in the first round of the playoffs last year and just dethroned a Hawks team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
Trae Young has PJ Tucker on him then Bam Adebayo switched on him….then Jimmy Butler switched on him. Trae is in HELL 😂😭 pic.twitter.com/w2Qdb1NvOW
— the shape (@raisedharmony) April 25, 2022
Rules Of The Game
The Heat will face the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the playoffs after sending the Atlanta Hawks packing early during their first-round 97-94 Game 5 close-out victory. While in the throes of a successful run, Butler made a hip-thrusting motion after his teammate, Heat guard Max Strus went on a 10-0 run.
The incident, which took place from the team’s bench area, per the NBA, occurred with 1:43 remaining in the second quarter of the series on April 26 at FTX Arena.
According to the NBA official rulebook, under Section V—Conduct,
“an official may assess a technical foul, without prior warning, at any time. A technical foul(s) may be assessed to any player on the court or anyone seated on the bench for conduct which, in the opinion of an official, is detrimental to the game.”
Jimmy Butler this regular season ➡️ playoffs:
21.4 ➡️ 30.5 PPG
5.9 ➡️ 7.8 RPG
5.5 ➡️ 5.3 APG
1.6 ➡️ 2.8 SPG
2.1 ➡️ 1.3 TOV
48.0 ➡️ 54.3 FG%
23.3 ➡️ 44.8 3P%
0.5 ➡️ 1.8 3PM pic.twitter.com/KPxthL7Vf6
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 25, 2022
Don’t Violate Or You’ll Get Violated
Although the rule applies to fouling, the league is displaying platitudes that indicate the rule extends to anyone on the bench when assessing violations.
Butler’s move was garish, given his visibility along the sideline. However, he did not suit up and was happy that his team had moved past the formidable Trae Young and basketball’s dirty birds.
Winning a 4-1 series victory was not just an accomplishment; it was a decisive series win. However, social media managers and exuberant players everywhere must be on guard for a preponderance of emotion and a desire to showcase it on a social media platform as a final knife twist to opponents.
Butler and the team were not alone in catching new financial fades, as Miami Heat power forward Markieff Morris also was fined. Morris, who wasn’t in the game at the time, was fined $25,000 for interfering with live game play while on the bench when he grabbed and held Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter out of bounds.
The incident occurred with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter.
The holding reportedly prevented Hunter from fully re-establishing himself inbounds while catching a pass from a teammate. For this Morris received an unsportsmanlike technical foul for his actions, and the Heat rode a victory into round two with the fines to prove it.