It’s safe to say that Russell Westbrook and fans of the Utah Jazz have a bit of a strained relationship. That tension was taken to new heights on Monday when video surfaced of the Thunder point guard getting into it with someone in the stands of Vivint Smart Home Arena. The vertical video shows Westbrook speaking to someone to his left promising to fuck up someone he points to in the crowd. He then turns in the direction of the fan in question and says:
I promise you. You think I’m playing? I swear to god. I swear to god. I’ll fuck you up. You and your wife, I’ll fuck you up. [turns towards the court] Nah, fuck that! Nah, fuck that! [turns back to fan] I promise you. On everything I love. Everything I love, I promise you. I swear to god.
This isn’t exactly new ground for the Oklahoma City player. When the Thunder and Jazz faced off in the playoffs last season, there were a couple instances similar to this one between Westbrook and some random Utahns. In both cases, the fan in question was smart enough to back down after Westbrook took a step towards them. After a Game 6 loss, the point guard told reporters that Jazz fans shout “disrespectful, vulgar” things from the stands that they wouldn’t tell him on the street because he “don’t play that shit.”
Whatever the fan said isn’t captured on the video to make an accurate assessment of this situation. That being said, Westbrook does have a history of having loudmouth fans getting dangerously close to him—which is probably why he tends to be pretty damn assertive in these situations—so it might be fair to assume some sort of line was crossed (also, it’s Utah). For what it’s worth, five Jazz fans were given “warning cards” because their actions supposedly violated the NBA Fan Code of Conduct.
Update (Mar. 12, 12:13 a.m. ET): Just like we have two sides to this situation, we have two explanations as to what was said that got Westbrook a little mad. The first comes from teammate Patrick Patterson:
The second comes from the man who Westbrook allegedly was pointing at:
Update (Mar. 12, 1:19 a.m. ET): Westbrook provided a full statement defending his actions in the video. My favorite part is him saying “If I had to do it over again, I would say the same exact thing.”
Also, in a surprise to no one, the guy in the camo hat apparently has some pretty bad tweets, including a now-deleted one where he says Westbrook deserves to get his ass kicked. Looking forward to this guy’s invitation to the White House later this week.