Sunday’s Nuggets-Suns Game 4 produced a wild second-quarter scene involving a two-time MVP, a team owner and a retired Hall of Fame point guard.
With 2:36 left in the second quarter, Suns guard Josh Okogie tumbled into the stands while chasing a loose ball out of bounds. The ball landed in the hands of a fan with courtside seats. Jokić, meanwhile, decided that it was his job to retrieve it. He did so forcefully, yanking the ball out of the hands of the fan who corralled it.
That fan? He’s Suns owner Ishbia, who bought the team midseason from exiled former owner Robert Sarver. After Jokić jarred the ball loose, he gave Ihsbia a shove to the chest, sending the Suns owner tumbling back into his seat. Ishbia’s wearing the green jacket in the video below:
Security intervened, and both Jokić and Okogie returned to the court. Another video angle shows Jokić looking directly at Ishbia before hitting him with the forearm shiver. Ishbia, a former basketball player at Michigan State and perhaps cognizant of potential trouble facing Jokic, did not appear to put up much resistance. He fell with his arms flailing back to his seat.
Another fan, meanwhile, grabbed a chunk of Jokic’s jersey while a third put his hand on Jokic’s left arm.
The fan in the blue shirt who grabbed Jokic’s jersey? That was Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas, who appeared to have joined Ishbia as his guest. Thomas is a friend of Ishbia’s who sits on the board of his mortgage business.
Officials went to replay to assess the scene and how to sort it out. The verdict was to issue an unsportsmanlike technical foul to Jokic. Security, meanwhile, escorted the fan in the black shirt who touched Jokic away from the court. There were no penalties for Ishbia or Thomas.
Kevin Durant hit the ensuing technical free throw, and play resumed without further incident. The fracas did not appear to fluster Jokic, who finished the half with a game-high 24 points — and a bizarre new addition to his highlight reel.