Stephen Curry became enraged after he was called for his sixth foul late in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. He channeled his frustration into an angry mouthpiece heave. The mouthpiece hit Andrew Forbes, son of Cleveland Cavaliers minority owner Nate Forbes, in the face.
Curry has a history of throwing his mouth gear in anger. The NBA has a history of levying a fine and treating such incidents as if they are no big deal. This is the first time, however, that he’s clocked a fan.
Curry won’t be suspended for Game 7 and he probably shouldn’t be forced to miss the biggest game of his career. To hear Steve Kerr tell it, his point guard also shouldn’t be called for fouls because he’s the league MVP.
It’s interesting to see how all of the stories from Thursday night dovetail. Ayesha Curry’s accusation that the NBA is fixed provides the perfect framework to view her husband’s prospective punishment. Had it been Draymond Green or Stephen Jackson or Ron Artest who had hit a fan, the conversation this morning would be a bit different. Steph gets the benefit of the doubt because of his personality and status as an elite player.
The NBA and its fans long ago decided they were comfortable with having different rules for different players. Keeping the star players on the court and allowing them latitude to do something special has always been a priority. I fully expect the Curry suspension talk to barely get off the ground before it’s shot down.
But it’s worth considering why hitting a fan in the face with an object in anger isn’t enough to earn a timeout. Sure, it’s only a mouthpiece and it appears accidental. On the other hand, it’s not something the league wants to condone. In fact, it’d be fairly troubling if it weren’t so funny.
Curry made a wise decision to dap up his victim in the immediate aftermath. His reaction de-escalated the situation and made it seem less serious than it may have appeared had he continued to rage.