Here we go again. Since crowds returned to NBA arenas, the behavior of some fans crossing the line has been on the rise and making headlines.
Boston fans were boisterous with their boos – and worst language – directed at former Celtics guard Kyrie Irving throughout the game on Sunday. Then, as the Nets left the field after their victory, a fan threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving (he missed). This fan has been taken into custody and detained.
As Kyrie Irving left the TD Garden floor, a fan threw a water bottle at her pic.twitter.com/r6GeIvtt3I
– Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 31, 2021
– Gary Washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) May 31, 2021
– Michael Grady (@Grady) May 31, 2021
TD Garden reported that a “guest at tonight’s Boston Celtics game” has been arrested by Boston police after throwing an object at a player, and the man – who wore a Kevin Garnett jersey – is subject to a lifetime arena ban. It was the first game that TD Garden had returned to full capacity.
Kevin Durant spoke about the issue after the game.
“Fans have to grow up at some point,” Durant said (via The Associated Press). “I know being home for a year and a half… has stressed people out, but when you come to these games you have to realize that these men are human. We are not animals. We are not in the circus.
“You don’t come to the game as a fan,” Durant said. “Grow the f *** up and enjoy the game. It’s bigger than you.”
This incident follows a 76ers fan throwing popcorn at Russell Westbrook (said fan was kicked out of the game, stripped of his subscriptions and banned from Wells Fargo Center); a Knicks fan trying to spit on Trae Young (he was banned from Madison Square Garden); and three jazz fans crossing the line with the family of Ja Morant and saying mean things to them during a match (these fans were kicked out and barred from returning to the arena).
It becomes an issue for the NBA – an issue with the race and treatment of black players by some fans – sometimes overshadowing the games themselves. A real problem for a league that is trying to sell a happy return to sport. This type of behavior needs to be punished swiftly and decisively as a deterrent, but the question now is what more can be done.