As he left the court following a wild 127-124 loss to the Nuggets on Gary Harris’s buzzer-beating three, Russell Westbrook found himself confronted by a screaming fan:
A fan got in Russell Westbrook's face on the court after the Thunder loss. pic.twitter.com/AwsPKPUYNu— ESPN (@espn) February 2, 2018
Westbrook shoved the fan, who turned to leave just as security, referees, and Westbrook’s Thunder teammates arrived.
The line between courtside seats and the court itself is, in a physical sense, non-existent. There’s no barrier keeping a fan from wandering out onto the floor, or, as we’re all immediately reminded of, a player entering the stands. There’s security, but not always enough or in the right places.
“You gotta be able to protect the players, man,” Westbrook said. “The fans are obviously there to enjoy the game, but they can’t come onto the floor. That’s totally unacceptable.
“They’ll look at it and figure out what’s the best way to deal with it, but to me, that’s just totally unacceptable.”
Westbrook was obviously in the right here, and probably still would have been in the right had he done more than just shoved the aggressive fan away. But moments like these are scary, and even worse, I don’t know that they’re entirely preventable.