When it comes down to NBA players vs. fans, the fans usually come out on top.
That is the case once again, as the NBA issued a $25,000 fine against Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas.
During Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Thomas engaged in a profane shouting-match with a fan in Washington D.C. The All-Star told the fan “I will f— you up, and you know that,” in the Celtics’ 121-102 loss to the Washington Wizards.
The league described the verbal exchange as ‘inappropriate language towards a fan.’ It is unknown what the heckler said to Thomas to make him react in such a manner. At the same time, saying anything negative to an NBA player in a blowout playoff game can set them off.
The game was already chippy as Kelly Oubre received an ejection for shoving Kelly Olynyk for a hard screen. A one-game suspension for Oubre was the result of the incident. Player-fan exchanges are nothing new, especially during this season’s playoffs. Houston Rockets’ point guard Patrick Beverley also received a $25,000 fine for confronting a fan during a first-round matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Golden State Warriors’ forward Draymond Green has also suffered from verbal abuse from disrespectful fans. Green admitted to fans calling him the N-word when playing in Boston in the past. The NBA is a “players’ league.” The league’s front office should have a more efficient policy in place that protects their players from disrespectful fans.
At the same time, one could argue this is why the players are ‘professionals.’ They should be able to hold their composure during moments when fans cross the line.
Whatever the case may be, Thomas has to pay for his actions with a deduction from his paycheck. A big one.