So apparently, some NBA fans need a little refresher on how to act at a game.
Monday night, we saw two very different dynamics with the player/fan relationship in the NBA.
The good, was Bradley Beal taking over another fourth quarter against the Kings and celebrating with Wizards fans.
The bad, was Russell Westbrook again being baited into a confrontation with Jazz fans.
If you have courtside seats, or are even in ear-shot of the players, let's try and remember what you should do, and not do at an NBA game.
DO: High fives when requested.
Clearly interacting with Beal after a big shot is the way to go.
Bradley Beal is taking over. He's got 8 quick points in the fourth. Just hit a corner three and high-fived a group of fans sitting courtside.— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) March 12, 2019
DON'T: Be that Jazz fan.
Saying something that could in any way make you look like a racist moron or just a clueless adult that doesn't understand making things personal is over the line.
According to Westbrook, the man told him to "get down on your knees like you're used to." Westbrook considered that comment to be "racial" and "inappropriate."
Russell Westbrook says the comment from the Jazz fan that set him off was: “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” pic.twitter.com/i0vIlblSwJ— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 12, 2019
The fan, 45-year-old Shane Keisel, told ESPN that he didn't use profanity at Westbrook or say anything inappropriate. He was seated in the third row on the baseline near the Thunder bench, and said that video you just saw was shot by a fan in the first row. Keisel said he sent the video to "friends that are in the social media business" because he wanted the exchange to be seen.
Of course he did. He got his platform and got to claim he was a victim.
Which brings me to another thing to stay away from...
Don't: Touch Russell Westbrook, or any player
Remember this shocked kid earlier in the season?
This kid was terrified that Russell Westbrook acknowledged him. pic.twitter.com/SjuFdG3jFT— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) February 27, 2019
Look, it's obvious fans realize they can get a reaction from Westbrook, it's been happening Kevin Durant forever too.
“Watch the game and shut up.”— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 5, 2018
Kevin Durant having fun with fans by doing a censored version of his encounter with a Mavs fan a couple of weeks ago.
(Via @HoHighlights, davisbish/IG)pic.twitter.com/uH9WxyjvOq
Far too many fans think because they can tweet someone they see on TV, that they can yell the same thing from the stands, and they'll get away with it. These are the same people that say if they were in the middle of a bank robbery they'd "take that gun right out of the guy's hands and stop the whole thing". They have muscles in their mind, but it's not the reality.
We all know people like that.
Talking trash is one thing, saying something that crosses the line, something you would never say to anyone's face if you met them at a bar, is the problem that continues to plague the NBA and fans need to stop being stupid.
Even the NFL has had issues with this, like when Marcus Peters went into the stands to confront a fan at a Rams game this past season.
Yes, Westbrook can be overly bitter, just like plenty of other athletes. Yes, he's made himself a target for taunting from fans because of his consistent overreactions.
He also should not have said anything about the fan's wife.
But that doesn't mean fans don't have room in the trash talking department.
Here's another to add to the list:
DO: Tell a player he can't shoot or took the easy way to a title.
Those are well within the realm of "just ignore it" noise from fans. Sorry Durant, you signed with the Warriors, that comes with the decision.
Sorry Russell, your shot has failed you this season, fans are just giving you the facts.
Saying something about someone's family, or race, or making it personal, is where we need to draw the line.
Sure, it's impossible to stop this completely. But the league needs to work more aggressively to take charge of these types of situations as they develop before they have a much bigger problem on their hands again.
Players also need to realize when you're on the road, the fans don't like you, and you need to be more selective with what you react to.
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