Who wants to stage a fight at an NBA game next season? Any takers? I’ll let someone throw a few haymakers my way if it means I get tickets to a playoff game. I’ll take a signed Jayson Tatum or Mike Conley jersey. It can’t be that hard to fake a fight, right? The WWE scripts their fights all the time. So, come on! Let’s wear opposing jerseys to a game next year, and then let’s go to a Conference Finals game.
If you think I’m being serious, you’re not entirely wrong. I’ve never been to an NBA playoff game, but man I’d love to, especially if it’s for free. If I found someone who’d be down to script the fight enough to make it look real, I’d consider it. Now, if I’d consider it, there are probably thousands of other people who are thinking the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong. I love myself a good rowdy fan fight every now and again. It’s a sign that nature is healing from the COVID pandemic, but at the same time we’ve had a lot of crazy fan moments during these NBA playoffs. We had somebody throw popcorn at Russell Westbrook. Someone threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving. We had a fan run on the court during Game 4 of the Sixers-Wizards series. We even had a player’s bodyguard step in and try to break up a fight between players for some reason. It’s like they forgot how to act at professional sporting events during quarantine and now that they’re allowed back into venues, they feel like they can do whatever they want.
Now, All-Star players are incentivizing actions like those as long as they’re done in support of your team? Yeah, that doesn’t seem like a good idea. What’s worse is that Devin Booker has doubled down on his actions when people have called him out for it. 2016 NBA champion and current basketball analyst Richard Jefferson took to Instagram to express his displeasure with the precedent that Booker was setting. Booker’s response: “Awwwwwww” — mocking Jefferson for trying to maintain some civility among fans in the future.
Booker’s desire to reach out to “Suns in 4” guy — Nick McKellar — shows every fan across America and Toronto that if you rep your team hard enough and commit some semi-violent act, you too can become internet famous and get invited to your favorite team’s most important games since the Steve Nash era.
This may even lead to some fans looking to pick fights at games in the future. That’s not good for anybody. People get hurt. The most infamous case being when Giants fan, Bryan Stow, was attacked outside of Dodger Stadium and nearly lost his life. I would think that nobody wants another incident like that to happen.
I understand McKellar was acting in self-defense. I respect him for standing up for himself, but a shout-out from Booker on one of his social media platforms, or a comment on the video from any one of the Suns players probably would’ve given McKellar as much attention as he needed for that fight. I guarantee we’re going to see many more haymakers thrown in the Western Conference Finals and beyond into the 2022 season. When they inevitably happen, please don’t give those guys tickets too.