There's always somebody who takes their sports just a little too seriously and Thursday night an anonymous Denver Nuggets fan was THAT guy.
Russell Westbrook faced down the screaming Nuggets fan who rushed him on the court Thursday night, only moments after a crushing Oklahoma City Thunder defeat by the Denver Nuggets.
This fan got a little too hyped in front of Russ 😳 https://t.co/38kggJ5AIq— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report)1517551741.0
The Thunder lost 127-124 at the hands of the Nuggets' Gary Harris who hit the game winning 3 at the buzzer.
CLUTCH! Gary Harris knocks down the three to win it! @Tissot #ThisIsYourTime https://t.co/yQdT0hl6IZ— NBA (@NBA)1517551244.0
Westbrook, who was understandably glum post-game, didn't want to dwell on his unfortunate altercation with the Nuggets fan and seemed more concerned about what the incident meant in terms of court security:
After last night's postgame altercation with a fan, Russell Westbrook wasn't happy. https://t.co/t3L3TTj1hA— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1517586317.0
Though the incident lasted only a few seconds (and was rather mild considering the circumstances) fans were still all riled up by the interaction and took to Twitter to voice their opinions and argue whether or not Westbrook should be fined.
@FredKatz Thats a lie! Westbrook went up to him and pushed him away instead of notifying security!— Uncle Vic!!! (@Uncle Vic!!!)1517591980.0
@FredKatz It looked more like Russel confronted him, the dude was planted on the ground— Encino Itzamna (@Encino Itzamna)1517597252.0
But those who thought Westbrook had been restrained in light of the emotional loss just moments before were plentiful. The fact, that the aggressive Nuggets fan was in clear violation of rules that state fans cannot be on the court, and was blocking Westbrook's path to the locker room, as well as screamingly taunting him meant most basketball fans were calling for no punishment in this instance of player/fan altercation.
This is probably obvious, but the NBA Fan Code of Conduct prohibits fans from “attempting to enter the court.” https://t.co/HAqzkHQ0P6— Brett Dawson (@Brett Dawson)1517553467.0
@FredKatz Fan should be banned from games. Has no right to be on the court and in a players face. Stand up and scre… https://t.co/feIvR6zNKu— Jared Lawson (@Jared Lawson)1517552669.0
That loony fan is lucky Russell Westbrook didn’t go Jermaine O’Neal on him (frankly, the NBA is, too). Dude had no… https://t.co/oUrvzEkuA2— Michael Lee (@Michael Lee)1517552030.0
Sports media weighed in on Westbrook's fan shove, too:
I’m on Team Don’t Punish Russ For Having A Natural Get-Away-From-Me Response To A Fan Being Where He’s Not Supposed… https://t.co/B59Z8mSXq4— Dan Devine (@Dan Devine)1517552009.0
League should give Russ the opposite of a fine -- he should get, like, a $25K reward for not separating the doofus'… https://t.co/qmS3esef5U— Michael Grange (@Michael Grange)1517578886.0
Last night, @russwest44 shoved a fan on the court. Likely legal result? Fan charged with trespass. Westbrook absolv… https://t.co/oVCKPMh1Jq— Warren K. Zola (@Warren K. Zola)1517580280.0
And as it turns out, the NBA sided with Westbrook (and the majority of fans and sports outlets). As ESPN reported earlier today,
. . . Westbrook will not be disciplined by the NBA for shoving a fan at the conclusion of Thursday night's game in Denver, . . . The NBA reviewed the incident but ultimately decided against punishment for Westbrook, as there was no aggression or engagement from the reigning MVP toward the fan.
Not only that, but there will reportedly be repercussions for the fan, a part-time season ticket holder, who was escorted off the court by arena security on Thursday night.
A source tells ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that following the incident, law enforcement issued a summons and complaint for trespass, and the fan has been banned from games.
The league is reportedly reviewing protocols for all arena security, and looking into whether or not any changes will be recommended with regards to staffing or security.