NBA retaliates with $10,000 fine

Updated: March 17, 2004, 5:50 PM ET news services

NEW YORK -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $10,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for inappropriate public comments after a loss to the San Antonio Spurs on March 5.

In the game, Mavericks forward Michael Finley was ejected for elbowing Bruce Bowen. But television replays showed both throwing elbows, and Bowen said after the game they bumped each other.

The Spurs won 113-100, and Cuban said in published reports that he asked one of his players, Josh Howard, to retaliate against Bowen.

"I told one of our guys when you get up close, slap the ball right into his face and I'll pay the fine," Cuban said. "That's just not right. Different refs have different characteristics in how they call games and that was par for the course."

Cuban reacted to the fine Wednesday on the Web site,

"The NBA feels that if they fine you, the reason you were upset and spoke out will go away and and everyone will forget that it's a problem," Cuban wrote. "Unfortunately, they are right. The NBA is a haven for short attention span theater fans.

"Back to my fine... The league felt that given the coverage of the discussion (they were quick to point out how many articles had been written about it) and the climate in the media following the craziness surrounding the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore [NHL] incident, that they needed to send a message. I can understand that. No problem."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Here's the chronology of fines (over $1.1 million) levied by the NBA against Mavericks owner Mark Cuban:

Mar. 17, 2004: Fined $10,000 for comments about Spurs guard Bruce Bowen.
Dec. 6, 2003: Fined $100,000 by NBA for comments made about officiating after Nov. 15 game vs Grizzlies.
Jan. 8, 2002: Fined $500,000 for comments about officiating after a 105-103 loss to the Spurs.
April 13, 2001: Fined Cuban $100,000 for making a derogatory gesture during a 111-106 loss to the Suns.
Feb. 16, 2001: Fined $10,000 and suspended for two games after running onto the court to break up a fight with the Cavaliers.
Jan. 11, 2001: Fined $100,000 after sitting on the baseline during a game against the Timberwolves.
Jan. 4, 2001: Fined $250,000 for criticizing referees after a Pistons game.
Nov. 22, 2000: Fined $25,000 after verbally abusing and publicly criticizing officials after a Sonics game.
Nov. 20, 2000: Fined $15,000 after being escorted off the court after a confrontation with an official during a game with the Jazz.
Nov. 14, 2000: Fined $5,000 for criticizing an official after a win against the Clippers.