After fines are paid or matched, money helps others

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2002

When an NBA player is fined, the money is split between the league and the players' union to be spent for charitable purposes.

And when Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban receives one of his many mega-fines, he matches the amount and gives it to people like Simon Ibell, who has a rare enzyme disorder.

''If something good has to come out of NBA fines, it could be an increase in donations to entities like mine,'' said Ibell, who received $125,000 from Cuban for his organization, Run for MPS.

The 24-year-old Ibell lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and is a friend of Mavericks point guard Steve Nash. Ibell has mucopolysaccharidosis, better known as MPS, and was told his organization would receive a six-figure check after Cuban was fined $500,000 last week by NBA commissioner David Stern for criticizing the league's officials.

''The money will be used for research into enzyme replacement therapy and the Canadian MPS society,'' Ibell said.

Players can be fined up to $35,000 for serious violations including fighting and flagrant fouls, and smaller fines are levied for offenses including wearing oversized uniform shorts or criticizing game officials.

Technical fouls carry a $500 penalty. Minor violations such as using stickum or failing to report to the scorer's table carry fines of $25.

The money generated from player fines is divided equally between the league and the union under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, said Dan Wasserman, a spokesman for the union. Funds generated by fines against owners are not included.

Last summer, the union used the fine money to conduct youth basketball clinics around the country and several in China, Wasserman said.

The clinics usually last at least six hours, with several hundred children -- usually from YMCAs or Boys Clubs of America -- going through basketball drills and hearing motivational speeches from current and former players.

''Our goal is to do one in every NBA city,'' Wasserman said.

The NBA would not comment on which charities receive fine money, spokesman Mark Broussard said.

Cuban said he picks a different charitable organization each time he matches an NBA-issued fine.

The fines against Cuban have escalated in the past 14 months as he has continued to gripe about officiating and NBA policies. He was fined $5,000 the first time, then $15,000, $25,000, $250,000 and $500,000 for criticizing officials.

He also has drawn a $10,000 fine for running onto the court during an altercation and a pair of $100,000 fines -- once for making a derogatory gesture, another time for sitting along the baseline with the players during a game.

Cuban has said he doesn't mind being fined and doesn't mind matching the fines because it draws more attention to his complaints and puts money into the pockets of charities that need the funds.

Ibell said his group has received additional support after fans heard that Cuban had donated $125,000 to help fight the disease.

''It's absolutely unreal that this has happened,'' Ibell said. ''Hopefully, we can generate some momentum because of the publicity.''

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