In the fourth quarter of last night’s dispiriting loss to the Chicago Bulls that put Boston in a 0-2 hole, Celtics wing Marcus Smart took and missed a three-pointer. Backpedaling down the court, he jawed with a fan, and eventually flipped the bird.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens called it “unacceptable,” and today the NBA fined Smart $25,000 for “making an obscene gesture on the playing court.”
I get all of the reasons Stevens was mad—Smart was successfully baited by a heckler, he embarrassed the team—and why the NBA fined him—there are rules against it, they don’t want players verbally abusing paying fans, they’re deathly afraid of Malice at the Palace part two, there are impressionable youngsters watching, etc. Generally, yelling at people and flipping them off is bad.
But I have a hard time getting worked up about NBA players shooting back. For three hours all sorts of fans talk shit, taunt, and harass players; the least they should expect is someone flipping them the bird. Short of actively maiming fans, players should be allowed and encouraged to return the shit-talking. I’ll bet this fan was highly obnoxious; Marcus Smart should’ve been given a bonus!