The fans have packed the arenas again to enjoy the best basketball in the world: the NBA Playoffs. However, their return has also showed us episodes that do not correspond to the sportsmanship values. Some spectators have been disrespectful to the players, which makes us wonder… Are we ready to come back?
Russel Westbrook left the court limping after falling to the floor in the last quarter of the second game of the series between the Philadephia 76ers and the Washington Wizards. What he did not expect was to find himself on a popcorn rain on his way to the locker-room. The player, visibly angry, had to be stopped by the security staff. Westbrook was clear on his statement later on: “The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f— they want to do — it’s just out of pocket. There are certain things that cross the line”.
Madison Square Garden Fans against Trae Young:
The series between the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks is being very intense, and not only on the court, but also because the Knicks fans have been able to witness their team in the Playoffs again since 2013. The atmosphere was amazing and the rivalry between the fans and the players is something usual. The Madison Square Garden crowd sang ‘Trae is balding’, a saying that can be kind of criticizable, but what it can´t happen at all is the incident that the Hawks point guard had to experience, as he was spitted by a fan when the ball was out of bounds.
The franchise from New York apologized for the incident on a press release statement: “We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities”.
Boston does not forget Kyrie Irving:
The duel between the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics had the morbid of Kyrie Irving facing his old team. The Nets point guard already claimed about racism in Boston before Game 3: “I’m not the only one who could attest to this… but it’s just, it is what it is. The whole world knows it. Hopefully we can just keep it strictly basketball”. After winning the game, a fan threw him a water bottle on his way to the locker-room that fortunately did not hit him.
Reactions came right away. This is what Kevin Durant had to say to the fan that threw the battle to his teammate: “Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players or spitting on players or tossing popcorn, so grow the f**k up and enjoy the game”.
The NBA also released a statement on all these incidents: “The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans,” the league said. “An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved”.
Regarding to the question that is proposed in the headline of this article I answer that we are ready to pack again the stadiums and arenas, but we can´t forget that players deserve respect and so fans must have a proper behavior. You can support your team without crossing the line like we have seen these past days. We can´t allow four idiots to damage this sport and make secondary the joy and excitement of seeing packed arenas in the Playoffs.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.