NBA suspends Patrick Beverley for hitting fan in stands with ball, kicking ESPN journalist out

Milwaukee Bucks' Patrick Beverley holds up his hands while the ball in his left hand

Patrick Beverley has been suspended four games without pay by the NBA for forcefully throwing a basketball twice into the stands during the Milwaukee Bucks' season-ending loss to the Indiana Pacers last week, then kicking a female journalist out of his interview because she does not subscribe to his podcast.

The suspension was announced Thursday by Joe Dumars, the NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations.

During the May 2 game, Beverley was caught on camera rising from his seat on the Bucks bench, throwing the ball with two hands into the stands and hitting a woman in the head. The woman, sitting three rows behind the bench, did not appear to be the target.

After another fan tossed the ball back, Beverley immediately fired it right back at him with a much harder throw before being restrained by teammates. Asked by a reporter after the game what had happened between him and the fan, the veteran guard replied, "Nothing."

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Later on social media, though, Beverley responded further.

"Not Fair at all," Beverley wrote. "Exchanged between a fan and our ball club all night. We warned and asked for help all night. Not fair."

"But," he added in a separate post, "I have to be better. And I will."

A memo distributed by the NBA to teams each year states that players are prohibited from throwing or kicking any object, including the ball, into the stands. A player who does so is supposed to receive a technical foul and is subject to an automatic ejection and a fine and/or suspension, if the ball was thrown or kicked with force.

Beverley did not receive a technical foul and was not ejected from the game.

Bucks coach Doc Rivers told reporters that he and Beverley discussed that incident.

"He made the comment to me about what was being said back his way," Rivers said, "and I just said, ‘I get it, but we’re coaches and athletes, we’re the entertainers or whatever we are. Sometimes they can be in the wrong, but you just can’t do those certain things.’ And he knows that as well.”

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The postgame incident involved longtime ESPN field and bureau producer Malinda Adams.

Adams stood next to Beverley as he answered questions from a group while sitting in front of his locker. Adams held a microphone in one hand and a smartphone in the other and appeared to be using both to record Beverley's comments.

Beverley, who played with the Clippers in 2017-21 and with the Lakers in 2022-23, was wearing a knit hat that read "Subscribe to the pod," and at one point he apologized for interrupting a reporter mid-question. He then turned to Adams and asked, "You subscribe to my pod?"

Taken aback, Adams answered, "I do not."

"You can't interview me then," Beverley responded. "No disrespect."

Adams smiled and pointed out an apparent colleague to imply he's a subscriber to "The Pat Bev Podcast with Rone."

"You subscribe?" Beverley said, looking in the direction Adams pointed. "OK, cool. That's cool."

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Adams laughed, but moments later, Beverley looked at the microphone she was holding below his chin and pushed it away.

"Get that mic out of my face please," Beverley said. "Thank you."

Adams kept the microphone up but held it away from Beverley, who again turned her way.

"Move that mic please or just get out the circle please for me, please ma'am, if you're not subscribed to my pod," Beverley said. "I appreciate it. Thank you."

Adams walked away.

In the 4-minute, 35-second video of the interview posted on the Bucks' YouTube channel, Beverley does not ask any other reporters if they subscribe to his podcast.

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Adams' colleagues defended her on social media and scolded Beverley for his behavior. In a statement emailed to The Times on Friday morning, ESPN said: "Malinda is a well-respected colleague and a true professional. She has our full support."

Also on Friday morning, Adams wrote on social media that she had accepted an apology offered to her by Beverley and the Bucks.

"I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support. I am humbled," Adams wrote. "Patrick Beverley just called me and apologized. I appreciate it and accept it. The Bucks also reached out to apologize. I've been in news for over 40 years and kindness and grace always win."

Rivers told reporters Friday he spoke with Beverley after hearing about the interview.

“That's not the Milwaukee way or the Bucks way,” Rivers said. “We’re better than that. Pat feels awful about that. He also understands emotionally — this is an emotional game and things happen. Unfortunately, you’re judged immediately and he let the emotions get the better of him. I'm glad that he called — that didn't come from us.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.