The Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz rivalry is starting to blow really hot. The two teams met last season in the Western Conference playoffs and the much fancied Thunder lost to the young Jazz team led by rookie Donovan Mitchell. The environment in those games was tense and the teams and fans were often seen jawing, but most people chalked that up to the fact that it was the playoffs and the intensity was bound to be higher.
But it seems the rivalry has reached a boiling point. Especially between Westbrook and the Utah fans. In OKC’s Monday night win over the Jazz, Russell Westbrook had had enough. As the game stopped for a mistaken poke in the eye of Paul George by Joe Ingles (who immediately went over to apologize) fans in the corner started having words with Westbrook, who initially took it in his stride laughing about it, but then turned to a fan siting court side and told him-
“I promise you. You think I’m playing? I swear to God. I swear to God. I’ll f— you up. You and your wife. I’ll f— you up. … I promise you. [On] everything I love — everything I love — I promise you.”
The video can be viewed here, be warned though, its as NSFW as they come
Things get heated between Russell Westbrook and Utah Jazz fans again. “I’ll f*ck you up. You and your wife,” he says. Not sure what these fans said to him, but he also had issues with Jazz fans during the postseason. pic.twitter.com/LquwRmLVNy
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) March 12, 2019
This isn’t the first time Westbrook has gone at a fan at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Westbrook was fined last year for slapping a fans phone away after the game 6 loss to the Jazz that sent the Thunder home. However, every story has two sides. Salt Lake City is known for its extreme right population make up and neutral fans have before spoken up about the racist slurs that are hurled sometimes during the games.
For his part Russell Westbrook said that the fan told him “get down on your knees like you used to.” That is an extremely racist comment if true and players are humans after all, so an angry reaction is natural in such a situation.
Russell Westbrook made a statement and did not take questions tonight. Here’s all of the statement I can fit into one Twitter vid: pic.twitter.com/EQA3A4jaQQ
— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) March 12, 2019
The fan however tells a different story, stating he said “go ice your knees”, which is heckling, but considered normal as it goes on at every arena in every sport.
Shane Keisel, the Jazz fan who was involved in a verbal altercation with Russell Westbrook during the Jazz loss to the Thunder, explains his side of what happened. @KSL5TV @kslsports #nba pic.twitter.com/ScCSRttTCg
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) March 12, 2019
Which half of the story you believe is up to you. But if what Westbrook says he heard, is what he heard, then you can no blame him for his response. Even after last years series he had spoken about the matter and said:
“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.