NBA fines Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama for tossing ball into stands


NEW YORK — Victor Wembanyama‘s celebratory tossing of a basketball into the stands was costly.

The NBA fined the San Antonio rookie $25,000 on Sunday for the act, which came at the end of Friday’s 130-126 overtime win for the Spurs over the New York Knicks.

Wembanyama caught a long pass for a steal on the game’s final play, wrapped his arms around the ball, high-fived a courtside fan and then tossed the ball a few rows into the crowd.

He had 40 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists in the game. It was the first such stat line by an NBA rookie since 1974.

Meanwhile, guard Jalen Brunson had the second-highest-scoring game in Knicks history with 61 points, and a ball boy working the team’s bench sprinted up to retrieve the ball from the fan who caught it because it was a valuable piece of memorabilia.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, it marks only the second time in NBA history that one player had a 40-point, 20-rebound game and another had a 60-point game. The other instance came in 1961, when Elgin Baylor scored 63 points and Wilt Chamberlain had 78 points and 43 rebounds.

Wembanyama, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, is the consensus favorite to win Rookie of the Year. He is averaging 21 points and 10.5 rebounds this season.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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