Don’t touch Russell Westbrook, because if you do, you might just get the death stare. That’s what one young courtside fan learned the hard way in the third quarter of Oklahoma City’s road loss to Denver on Tuesday night.
Westbrook was holding the ball out of bounds, and a young Nuggets fan with courtside seats tapped Westbrook on the elbow, then tapped him again on his arm.
Westbrook could only stare back at the kid in disbelief, as if he said “are you serious right now?” without uttering a single word.
Russell Westbrook pulled the dad card on a Nuggets fan after the kid gave him a little push. pic.twitter.com/b4nBTXlV9r— ESPN (@espn) February 27, 2019
Westbrook, though, went over and gave the young fan and his father some counseling immediately after. “I just let him know, you’ve got to control your kids,” he said after the game. “It’s that simple. He’s responsible for his kids.”
This was probably papa Russ, the father of three, realizing he was just a liiiiittle bit too blunt with the look he gave the young fan. A softer touch got the point across more effectively.
There are boundaries, and fans under no circumstances should ever lay a hand on an NBA player. Westbrook said he didn’t know it was a kid until after he turned around.
Westbrook spoke about the incident postgame and said he told the kid’s dad, “Be careful. You can’t just have your son hitting random people. I don’t know him, he don’t know me.”
He also illuminated a bigger issue: some fans go a little too hard at games.
“It’s too much leeway for the fans to be able to 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,” Westbrook said. “They can say what they want, as long as it’s respectful, but the touching is off limits.”
Westbrook has had a few run-ins with fans, including jawing with two after a loss in Utah. He later said Jazz fans say a lot of vulgar, disrespectful things.
In this instance, it was just a young fan who saw a future Hall of Famer right in front of him. That fan got a pass this time, but hopefully he learned his lesson.