3. The Westbrook/Jazz Fan Incident
While this incident took place when Russell Westbrook was still on the Oklahoma City Thunder, it still shows why beating the Utah Jazz and their rabid fans is always satisfying.
As we all know, no fan base is safe from having a few bad apples in the bunch, but for whatever reason, Utah has had an excess of incidents with opposing players over the years.
In March 2019, an altercation took place between Westbrook and a couple of Jazz fans during the second quarter that he maintains stemmed from disrespectful and racial comments toward him.
“A young man and his wife in the stands told me to get down on my knees ‘like you used to’, ” Westbrook was quoted as saying. The comments then led to this interaction from Westbrook to the fans, in which he shouted some threats back at the fans.
Numerous Thunder teammates backed Westbrook’s account of the comments made by the fan, who denied ever getting personal with his comments. While Russell certainly could have handled the situation better, it’s tough to fault him too much for reacting so emotionally to comments like that.
It also wasn’t the first time Russell had issues with Jazz fans. As he was walking off the court during Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs in 2018, you can see multiple fans set him off again. Westbrook is a fiery man, but, again, I don’t see him reacting this passionately unless the inciting comments were uncalled for.
The Utah Jazz have an extremely passionate fan base that seems to be sprinkled with a few that could certainly benefit from a lesson or two in common courtesy.
Fortunately, the franchise has been doing the right thing when it comes to their misbehaving fans, as they banned the fan from the first incident for life and have given out several “warning cards” to anyone they see violating NBA’s Fan Code of Conduct.
The Rockets and Jazz were separated by just one game when the NBA shut down in March, so if the league does resume play, there’s a decent chance they could be meeting in the playoffs for the third straight time.
Let’s all hope the Rockets can return to the court again this year, if only to send the Jazz home once again.