ORLANDO, Fla. — Jameer Nelson was repentant — to a point — about the $15,000 fine handed down Thursday by the NBA regarding an on-court gesture he made during the Orlando Magic’s triple-overtime loss on Wednesday to the Chicago Bulls.
After nailing a fallaway jump shot over 6-foot-11 Bulls center Joakim Noah to tie the score late in regulation, the 6-foot-1 Nelson ran back towards the Magic bench cupping his hands in a gesture that had been made famous — or infamous — by the now-retired Sam Cassell.
"I accept the fine," Nelson said Friday at the Magic’s shootaround before their game against the Charlotte Bobcats. "Hopefully I won’t get emotional again. If I have to pay $15,000 for our fans to get excited I’ll do it again."
Nelson came within a point of tying his career high when he poured in 31 against the Bulls. The 30 field goals he shot were a season high for any Magic player, and his 13 3-point attempts tied Arron Afflalo’s total on Dec. 3 in a double-overtime loss at Philadelphia.
"If I offended anyone, I’m sorry," he said. "Basketball is a fun game, and you get emotional. You never see my emotions, but you did that game."
Cassell was a member of the 1995 Houston Rockets team, which swept the Magic in the NBA Finals. To the best of Magic coach Jacque Vaughn’s knowledge, Cassell was never fined for the same sort of expression made by Nelson. Vaughn broke into the league in 1997 as a guard with the Utah Jazz.