Things got chippy in Miami Heat’s Saturday night game versus the Toronto Raptors. Heat forward Caleb Martin was involved in a heated altercation with Raptors center Christian Koloko, as Martin tackled Koloko into the stands. Since the dispute, the NBA has suspended Martin for one game without pay for his role, which will make Martin miss out on $45,000. Koloko was fined $15,000 for his role in the altercation but was not suspended.
Miami still secured their first win of the season over Toronto 112-109. Following the game and news of his suspension, Martin immediately felt remorseful and had the following to say
“I felt bad that it happened,” Martin said. “I was embarrassed Saturday night; I was embarrassed the next morning about how I handled things because I pride myself on being more professional than that. Anybody who plays sports understands that emotions get high, especially at the highest level. Sometimes it boils over. It’s not the first incident like that in basketball history. But those are things I try to make sure I avoid.”Martin revealed that since the incident, he had reached out to Koloko and apologized.
“I got to deal with the consequences,” Martin continued. “I reached out to him last night. I talked to him Saturday night and yesterday morning. Just letting him know I apologize, and that’s not the way I carry myself, and I don’t condone that type of stuff. Obviously, he was cool about it. We talked about it, and he understands. He doesn’t hold anything against me. So as long as me and him are good and he understands where I’m coming from, I’m good.”
“I remember being a rookie and scratching and clawing for playing time, too,” Martin added. “You’re going to do whatever it takes, even if you got to climb on somebody’s back. Whatever the case may be, you’re going to try to earn playing time. So I don’t fault him at all for the way he was playing. That’s just their culture, and I respect that.”
Heat rookie Nikola Jovic was also suspended and fined $15,000 for coming off the bench during the altercation. Having only played overseas in Serbia, Jovic was a bit surprised that he was also suspended and fined due to the NBA’s rules/regulations.
“I didn’t know because everything happened near the bench,” Jovic said. “So my reflex was to come out and help my teammate and get people to just move away from him and stuff. It just happened — I felt like they were right in front of me, and I tried to help my friend, and that’s all that happened.”
The Heat take on the Raptors again tonight, but everything seems to have cooled down and been squashed between the players. This is the NBA; sometimes, these things happen. At the end of the day, everyone on every team is competing against the best of the best, so things will sometimes escalate. That’s just basketball.