During the third quarter of Tuesday’s Thunder-Nuggets game, Russell Westbrook stepped slightly off the court. Sensing that this might be his one chance to scrap with a 6-foot-3 historically explosive athlete, a child in a Denver hoodie gave him a little one-handed shove. Westbrook first stared the child into sitting down—and perhaps soiling himself—before the point guard talked to the man sitting next to the kid. He finally shook the kid’s hand, all under the eyes of a slightly wary Nikola Jokic and official. (Jokic approves of picking up and flinging children, but only in the name of fun.)
Why would a civilian touch Russell Westbrook mid-game, unless they wanted their fingerprints singed off? Why would a child with great seats do so, unless he wished to be drop-kicked into the suite level, chicken tendies scattering everywhere? Beats me. Beats Russell Westbrook, too. These were his entirely reasonable thoughts after the game:
He hit me. So I told his dad, you know, just, “Be careful man, you can’t just have have your son hitting random people.” I don’t know him, he don’t know me, so.
He’s responsible for his kid. Watch the game, sit there, have fun, enjoy. For all the fans though, there’s too much leeway, man, for the fans to be able touch the players and get away with it. And then we can’t react and do the things that we need to do to protect ourselves. It’s important that they understand—kids, whoever it is, dads, moms, that they can say what they want, as long as it’s respectful, but the touching is, to me, off limits.
The lesson is clear: Children should only mess with Russell Westbrook if they know him. It won’t be too long before he simply dispatches his own sports baby to dunk on the snot-nosed offenders. Noah Westbrook can’t quite complete a chest pass without falling down, but he’s ready to put a fool on a poster.