Magic's Howard fined for blog rant at refs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dwight Howard became the latest victim of the National Basketball Association's tough stance against criticizing game officials as the league handed the Orlando Magic center a $35,000 fine on Wednesday.

Howard, a four-times All-Star and the first overall pick by Orlando in the 2004 draft, was fined for public criticism of officiating that appeared on his personal blog on April 27, the league said in a statement.

"I'm not looking to say anything to get myself in trouble with the league, but I just don't see other star players getting called for fouls the way I get them," Howard wrote in a April 27 post. (http://www.dwighthoward.com/blog/). "No star player in the league is outta games the way I am."

David Stern, commissioner of the NBA, said recently he would not only fine but consider suspending players or coaches from playoff games for speaking negatively about referees.

A number of players and coaches have been fined in recent weeks for publicly criticizing game officials.

(Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Patrick Johnston)