Kevin Durant on Fan Behavior: 'It's All Fun and Games Until Ya Ass Banned for Life'May 27, 2021
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant questioned Thursday whether directly antagonizing star athletes is ultimately worth it following two incidents of bad behavior by fans on Wednesday.
A Philadelphia 76ers fan was banned indefinitely from Wells Fargo Center after dumping popcorn on Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook.
A New York Knicks fan who spit on Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young was handed their own indefinite ban from Madison Square Garden and had their information passed along to authorities.
Durant didn't think the fans considered the likely repercussions of their actions:
Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green echoed Durant's point:
The "Malice at the Palace" in 2004 served as a flashpoint in the history of players vs. opposing fans. As former Indiana Pacers star Metta Sandiford-Artest laid across the scorers' table following a brief scuffle between the Pacers and Detroit Pistons, a fan threw a drink at him. Sandiford-Artest went into the stands to confront the fan, sparking a larger brawl that left a far-reaching legacy on the league and the players involved. The NBA came down hard on Sandiford-Artest, who was suspended for the rest of the 2003-04 season after making just seven appearances.
Security personnel intervened to ensure Westbrook didn't directly confront the fan who showered him with popcorn, thus preventing the situation from escalating.
This wasn't Westbrook's first run-in with an unruly Sixers fan. A local urologist apologized in 2016 after flipping both of his middle fingers toward the nine-time All-Star.
In March 2019, he also took exception to what he believed to be a racist taunt from a Utah Jazz fan who had allegedly told him to "get down on your knees like you're used to."
Following the Wizards' 120-95 loss Wednesday, Westbrook told reporters "this s--t is getting out of hand."
"Especially for me, the amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f--k they want to do," he said. "… In any other setting, I’m all for fans enjoying the game. It’s part of sports, I get it. But there are some things that cross the line."