In the wake of NBA fans creating messy scenarios this playoffs, the story of how Isaiah Thomas was disrespected by a fan at a 76ers game comes to mind.
The former Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans guard faced a fan who was being extremely irresponsible. This kind of behavior is something we’ve gotten used to over the course of the NBA playoffs.
So far in the NBA Playoffs, we’ve seen fans:
Spit at a player
Pour popcorn on a player
Throw a water bottle at a player
Run on the court and touch the backboard
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 1, 2021
Thomas faced a similar situation back when the Wizards took on the 76ers in 2019. As these antics have continued, Thomas spoke up about his experience and how it applies to today.
Isaiah Thomas Confronted Fan Who Cursed Him And Pointed Middle Finger At Him
After hitting a pair of free throws, Thomas ruined the night of one NBA fan. This fan wanted Thomas to miss these free throws, so that he could cash in on a promotion that would give him a free frosty.
Thomas initially did not want to confront the fan, but he was ultimately left with no choice. The fan had taunted Thomas three times, swearing at him and pointing the middle finger. Enough was enough after a certain point.
“I’m not going to go in there by myself, trying to raise havoc. But in my situation, I needed to say something to that man and let him know that that was not right.”
Thomas felt like he wasn’t seen as a human being anymore.
“That means you don’t respect me as a human being. I think that’s why players are so upset now. It’s like: ‘Are you looking at us like human beings? As people? Or just somebody you’re coming to watch?’”
As fans have spit on players, thrown water bottle and condiments, and even resorted to racist remarks at times, Thomas’ words make even more sense. When speaking about the incident where fans threw popcorn at Russell Westbrook as he exited with an injury, Thomas made sure to point out the hypocrisy surrounding the events.
If this situation had occurred in normal daylight on the street, the response to it would be very different. If Westbrook had gone after the fan, it would have painted a very negative image of him, despite him doing nothing wrong.
“What if he would’ve ran into the stands and put his hands on that fan? Everybody would’ve said he was wrong. But in any other setting in life, if I’m walking down the street and somebody pours popcorn on me, what do you think is going to happen?”