Since Oklahoma Thunder star Russell Westbrook got into a heated encounter with a fan during a game against the Utah Jazz, many players around the league have been weighing in on the unique nature of the NBA and fan interactions.
Westbrook was fined for the incident, and the fan was banned from the arena for life. But there remains a fine line with how players are expected to react when someone lashes out at them inappropriate from the stands.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum weighed in on the matter Tuesday, saying players should be allowed to stand up for themselves.
“People always expect us to turn the shoulder,” Tatum said, per MassLive’s John Karalis. “And we get paid all this money, we should be able to let them talk to us any kind of way, and that’s just not true. For the most part, we do a good job of letting go and running out the other way but what that person said was tough. It was out of line and very disrespectful to who he was as a person. We’ve all been out there. You’ve got to stand up for yourself.”
It’s a tough situation for the players. Fans in the NBA get one of the most unique viewing experiences in sports by sitting at floor level, inches from the action on the court. But that sometimes can result in testy situations, as we saw with Westbrook.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images