NEW YORK (AFP) - The National Basketball Association slapped Joel Embiid with a $25,000 fine on Wednesday after the Philadelphia 76er player openly criticized the referees following a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Embiid was wrapping up a post-game news conference with reporters after a 112-109 defeat on Tuesday night when he leaned into the microphone, yelled a profanity and said the referees “suck.”
The league responded by fining Embiid for “public criticism of the officiating which included use of inappropriate language”.
Embiid’s outburst was apparently the result of not getting a foul call in his favor in the final minute of the Celtics’ game.
He finished the game with 23 points after shooting just nine-of-22 from the field.
Asked about the fine following the 76ers 126-111 win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, an unapologetic Embiid said “I knew what I was getting into.”
Embiid scored a team-high 26 points and 14 rebounds as New York handed the hapless Knicks their 18th straight loss.
Embiid gave the Madison Square Garden crowd a scare in the third quarter.
While trying to chase down a ball going out of bounds, he jumped over Hollywood actress Regina King, who was sitting courtside, and landed on top of a Knicks broadcast worker. No one was seriously hurt.
King, who won a Golden Globe for her role in “If Beale Street Could Talk” tweeted about the incident, saying “Yoooo. Thank you God and @JoelEmbiid for your athletic abilities. Crisis averted.”
Asked why he chased a ball out of bounds with his team ahead by 15 points and the game out of reach, Embiid said, “I only know one way to play.”
Embiid’s discipline is just the latest in a series of recent fines for criticism of NBA referees.
Detroit’s Blake Griffin and Cleveland’s JR Smith were both fined $15,000 each last month for “verbal abuse of officials” while Rudy Gobert of Utah was fined $15,000 in December for criticizing the referees.