When the phone rings and the NBA is calling, ignoring it doesn’t mean you can bypass the interview and subsequent punishment.
“You gotta answer. They make sure,” said Bulls guard Dwyane Wade with a laugh. “Team security make sure it gets to you. Yeah, you gotta get back to them within a certain time. I've been on a few calls with them and every time, I tell the truth. They got film and they see everything. You deal with it and you move on.”
So much for sending the league to voicemail and going on about your day, since the eye in the sky never lies.
When Wade did his “it’s over” gesture after his clinching 3-pointer in the season opener against the Boston Celtics — his first real game in his return to the franchise he loved as a kid — and his emotion and adrenaline died down, he knew the procedure.
“Obviously I've been in this league awhile so when they called, I knew they were gonna call before they called,” Wade said Saturday afternoon following morning shootaround. “Like I told them, I didn't mean anything malicious by it. Was caught in the moment.”
“As soon as I did it, I was like, it's a fine.”
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And so according to the NBA’s rigid rules in regards to “inappropriate gestures”, Wade was fined $25,000 by the league office Friday. The rule was put in place to prevent players from doing throat-slashing gestures, which can certainly turn away fans and sponsors from a squeaky-clean league image, but the NBA doesn’t exercise much in the way of nuance when doling out these fines.
“It's technical but I'm not gonna get into that, things can be interpreted,” Wade said. “When you leave it 50-50, that's the things that happen. For me, I deal with it and move on and go to the next game.”
Wade has been suspended for an altercation and he’s not the first to get fined for that mild gesture, so his twitter apology to his young fans the day after the Bulls’ opener wasn’t so much a plea to the league for leniency on his pockets but an honest acknowledgement of being caught in the moment.
“But it is what it is, it's rules to this game and you have to respect the rules,” Wade said. “And when you don't, you get fined, so it's all good.”