Dillon Brooks, the small forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for violating media access policies. Brooks did not make himself available to the media after all three of the Grizzlies’ road losses during the first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Brooks became one of the series’ major storylines following comments he made about Lakers star LeBron James, for which he received a flagrant foul 2 resulting in his ejection from Game 3. Brooks later complained he had been portrayed as a villain and suggested this influenced the call against him.
Despite the controversy surrounding him, Brooks struggled throughout the series, shooting 31.2% from the floor and 23.8% from 3-point range. The Lakers often schemed defensively to leave him open and clog the paint. Brooks, being an unrestricted free agent this offseason, may have caused some concern for his future prospects with this series of events. James, whose Lakers won the series in a 125-85 win in Game 6, made sure to get the last words on social media by quoting the lyrics from Jay-Z’s “Trouble”.
Brooks’ lack of cooperation with media access policies has resulted in a significant fine. This is a reminder to players that engaging with journalists after games is an essential part of their responsibilities as players. Brooks’ on-court performance throughout the series was largely underwhelming and one can only speculate whether his off-court distractions were a factor. James’ social media post might be construed as disrespectful to Brooks but is understood as a final word from a player who had been affected by Brooks’ conduct on-court. As Brooks heads into free agency, his recent conduct will be considered alongside his on-court performance by interested teams.