UPDATE: The Philadelphia 76ers announced on Thursday that they have banned a season ticket holder from further games and events at Wells Fargo Center for dropping popcorn on Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook yesterday.
The original article is below.
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook left the court early in the fourth quarter in Game 2 of their playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Westbrook hurt his ankle and left the court, but someone dropped popcorn on him intentionally as he left. He had to be restrained by security before ultimately going to the locker room. You can see the incident and commentary from NBC Sports Philadelphia above.
After the game, Westbrook spoke to the media, where he took the matter personally, saying that “this shit is getting out of hand” and that the league needs to have more measures to protect players from incidents like this. There is foul language in Westbrook’s presser so it is NSFW:
Westbrook has had incidents with fans in the past, including in 2019 when he was fined $25,000 by the NBA for cursing at a Utah Jazz fan. That fan was banned from Vivint Smart Home Arena for using threatening language at him.
According to some reports, Wells Fargo Arena staff found the fan who dropped the popcorn on Westbrook and ejected him though Westbrook disputed that. And other players in the NBA, including LeBron James, tweeted their support for Westbrook.
By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! There’s cameras all over arenas so there’s no excuse! Cause if the was on the other . #ProtectOurPlayers— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 27, 2021
Wizards teammates, including Bradley Beal also came to Westbrook’s defense. Beal noted that players can’t defend themselves when fans cross the line. And even he noted that some fans said nasty things to him.
Hopefully the fan who did this to Westbrook is found soon and banned for life from NBA games. While booing Wizards players on the road is fine, throwing things is just uncalled for.