NBA fines Lakers, Jackson

Updated: 2007-03-16 11:03

The Los Angeles Lakers and Phil Jackson were fined $50,000 (euro37,800) apiece by the National Basketball Association on Thursday after the coach said the league was conducting a "witch hunt" against Kobe Bryant.

Bryant recently received two one-game suspensions this season for striking players in the face after attempting a shot. The league retroactively assessed Bryant with a flagrant foul for an elbow to Philadelphia's Kyle Korver last week, a play that didn't draw a foul when it happened.

NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson said the fine was for Jackson's "public criticisms of the NBA."

Bryant, speaking in Denver before the fine was levied, said he appreciated Jackson standing up for him.

"He was defending his player," Bryant said at a shootaround for a game against the Nuggets.

Jackson clearly was upset with the NBA's actions.

"It shouldn't even have been a flagrant 1," Jackson said Tuesday. "That's crazy. That's a vendetta. They have a witch hunt going on. It's nuts. Guys riding somebody. Everybody does that in this league. It's just becoming a witch hunt now."

Bryant said the suspensions won't change his shooting style. He's second in the league in scoring behind Denver's Carmelo Anthony.

"You have to be careful about how you play the game," he said. "Go out there and play hard and do the best you can. Hopefully you don't get suspended or anything like that."

Asked if the league was overreacting, Bryant said: "I don't really want to get into it too much. You can't say anything about it without saying something inflammatory. I'd rather leave it alone and focus on the game."

Jackson didn't speak to the media after the shootaround in Denver.


Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.

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