Russell Westbrook got into two different altercations with Utah Jazz fans in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s season-ending loss on Friday night. Before halftime, he exchanged words with one while heading to the tunnel, and enlisted arena security. Then, as he walked off following the final horn, Westbrook attempted to grab the phone of a patron who was filming.
“I don’t confront fans, fans confront me,” Westbrook said after the game. “Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It’s truly disrespectful. (They) talk about your families, your kids. It’s just a disrespect to the game and I think it’s something that needs to be brought up.
“I’m tired of just going out and playing and letting fans say what the hell they want to say. I’m not with that. If I was on the street, they wouldn’t just come up to me and say anything crazy, because I don’t play that (expletive).”
It’s unclear what was being said before each time Westbrook snapped. Perhaps the fans weren’t being as polite as Mitt Romney in their heckling. Considering the stakes of the win-or-go home game, emotions were high. At the same time, the last thing the NBA wants is a player getting physical with a paying customer.
One thing is clear: it takes a special kind of person to even risk such a situation with Westbrook. Guy is intense.