Jameer Nelson on Friday apologized to anyone he offended when he did the Sam Cassell Dance after he made a clutch, game-tying shot during the Orlando Magic’s emotional triple-overtime loss Wednesday night to the Chicago Bulls.
The NBA fined Nelson $15,000 for the gesture, which league officials characterized as “obscene.”
“First and foremost, if I offended anybody by my gesture, I apologize,” Nelson said moments ago, after the Magic completed their morning shootaround.
“Basketball is a game and it’s fun, and sometimes you get emotional. You never see my emotions come out, but it did that game because of the game it was. It was probably one of the funnest games I’ve ever played in. You get emotional out there at times, and you do certain things. Like I said, if I offended anybody, I apologize. I accept the fine, and hopefully I won’t get emotional again.”
After Nelson made the shot — a stepback jumper over Joakim Noah that tied the score with 11.2 seconds left in regulation — he jogged back to the Magic’s bench, mimicking a dance that Cassell made famous years ago. The gesture is meant to reflect that the player has enough fortitude and guts to take and make a clutch shot.
Asked if his wife chastised him for the fine, Nelson said, “Of course she did. My mom [did, too]. My agent [did, too]. I don’t really check Twitter, but it probably showed on my Twitter followers. Everybody.”
The game, which the Bulls won 128-125, lasted 3 hours and 9 minutes.
Nelson played a career-high 54 minutes, scored 31 points and compiled 10 assists as he made just two turnovers.
“It was a fun game to be in and I was happy to be a part of it,” Nelson said.
“Even if I was a fan, I would be satisfied just watching. You know, the fans come to see games like that and the intensity level that we brought that game, from both ends and from both teams. So, I guess if I have to pay $15,000 for all my fans to get excited, I’ll do it again.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.