What in the name of Sam Cassell is with these Big Balls Dance fines?

NBA lightens wallets of LeBron James, Fred VanVleet amid crackdown on fun

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LeBron James was fined $15,000 after his “Big Balls” celebration this week,
LeBron James was fined $15,000 after his “Big Balls” celebration this week,
Image: Getty Images

At least the NBA is consistent?

Two weeks after hitting Raptors guard Fred VanVleet with a $15,000 fine for doing the Sam Cassell “big balls” dance, the league has come down with the same punishment for LeBron James for doing the same moves Wednesday night in Indiana.

That’s $7,500 per big ball, or a little more than 125 times the price of an authentic NBA basketball these days. Working out the math, this would put the diameter of the penalized balls at 99 feet apiece.

John Tortorella, as coach of the New York Rangers and then the Columbus Blue Jackets, on multiple occasions described players — memorably Dan Girardi and Zach Werenski — as having building-sized balls. In this case, the gentlemen’s balls would be somewhat less than that, but still enormous.


A basketball court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide, so if you put two courts side by side, each ball would be big enough to fully cover that area, albeit at the midpoint where the diameter of the spheres cover the horizontal plane. You might have to get the Jumbotron out, but such a ball would fit comfortably under the roof of most NBA arenas, with 40-plus feet to spare.

Still, those are some very big balls, and all the more impressive that, as invisible and illegal as they are, VanVleet, James, and others would dare to carry them around on the court — not to mention their ability to carry both in their hands while dancing. It’s silly that the NBA is penalizing it because it’s been part of the league’s culture for years, and of course completely harmless.

So, a salute to all the men following in the footsteps of Cassell (and Pedro Cerrano). Perhaps instead of these monetary fines, if the NBA wants to legislate on it, they can ask that anyone doing the dance simply make a donation to a local youth program. We’ve done the math, it should be about 250 basketballs.