Courtside fans is something that is a unique element to basketball, as one of the few sports that puts players in such close and constant proximity to fans. The interaction between courtside fans and players, particularly those on the opposing team, can sometimes produce memorable moments and rivalries can extend beyond the players on the court to some of those most famous fans that are a constant courtside presence.
However, for every Spike Lee or Jack Nicholson who have the cache and relationships with players to get away with jawing, there are dozens of others who want to be involved in that way but go about it in the wrong way. We’ve seen in recent years a few instances of courtside fans crossing a line with players, with LeBron James twice having fans in Indiana and Atlanta ejected for going too far in their efforts at trash talk.
A lot of times the interactions are made brief by the players, who can grow frustrated by a constant loud presence courtside, and they’ll take just enough time to deliver a curt message to try and put an end to the chatter. This happened in Atlanta on Friday, when a fan was chirping at Kevin Durant, who turned to the fan and told him simply to “shut your ass up, motherf**ker.”
Fan: “Durant, stop crying”
KD: “Shut yo ass up, motherf*****”
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) December 11, 2021
That was, seemingly, that, and all parties moved on and it didn’t seem like much of anything. However, since that video went viral, the league looked into it and decided it was enough to hand Durant a $25,000 fine for using obscene language to a fan.
The following was released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/0782IS8CyJ
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) December 12, 2021
It feels like a steep and rather unnecessary fine, given the only reason it came to anyone’s attention was because of a viral video, not because of some actual formal complaint from the fan in question. If anything, the fan got what they wanted out of it, because the only reason they’d be filming themselves trash talking an NBA player is in hopes of getting a response.