The NBA sent a clear message to Danny Ainge and any other front-office executive who wants to sit amongst the “regular” folk at a game: Just because you’re with the fans doesn’t mean you get to act like one.
After Ainge was seen tossing a towel in the air while Cleveland’s J.J. Hickson shot free throws during Game 2 of Celtics/Cavs — an old-school trick that can draw a player on the bench a technical if he’s caught — he was fined $25,000 by the League for “creating an unauthorized distraction” and “conduct detrimental to the game.”
Ainge had earlier apologized in the Boston Herald. “What I’m most regretful about is that our team is playing well and people are talking about a towel being thrown,” Ainge said. “I shouldn’t draw attention away from our team like that. It was unprofessional. It’s not something I’ll lose a lot of sleep over.”
The towel incident didn’t have any impact on the game itself — the Celtics were well on their way to a blowout win — which makes it even more curious why Ainge would even do it. Had the game been in Boston, nobody would have noticed since every other person sitting behind the basket would have been waving their arms and clapping Thundersticks to throw Hickson off. But since the game was in Cleveland, Ainge stood out from the crowd. Clearly the competitor in him hasn’t gone away.