The fans are an integral part of the NBA. It's the main reason the game is even being played and crucial for home teams having an advantage when playing in their arena. We all got an appreciation for fans after the bubble, and last season that saw most of the games without anyone in the stands. Fortunately, things have returned mostly to normal, but with the recent spike of cases, a couple of teams have reduced capacity or even banned fans like the Toronto Raptors. Well, that didn't stop Devin Booker last night from complaining about distractions from the stands, courtesy of the Raptors mascot "The Raptor."
Suns escape Toronto with a win, Booker seals the deal while complaining
Last night's game between the Suns and the Raptors was definitely one of the better games of the night. The Suns came into the game as favorites, but the Raptors, who had won six straight and finally gelled, didn't fall without a fight.
In a close, back and forth game, the Suns would have a bit more firepower and take home the win in front of empty stands of the Scotiabank Arena. Jae Crowder led the way with 19 points, while the point god Chris Paul, in his style, orchestrated the offense with 15 points and 12 assists. On the other end, OG Anunoby played great, scoring 25 points, but it wasn't enough to snatch the win.
The young Suns star Devin Booker struggled all night, scoring 16 points on 4-13 from the field. He still managed to put the game away at the free-throw line, but one detail caught the eye of fans and sparked a lot of criticism towards Booker.
After making his first free-throw, to put the Suns up two with 6.5 seconds to go, Booker started complaining to the referee, pointing behind the basket. Devin wasn't happy with the mascot trying to distract him, saying: "He's jumping when I shoot." Everybody was confused about what Booker was complaining, considering the stands were empty. The referee instructed, "The Raptor" to move down and stop distracting Booker, who calmly knocked in his second free-throw and iced the game.
Social media reactions
This obviously sparked a lot of reactions from the NBA world, who considered this move by Booker incredibly soft.
Devin Booker is one of the brightest young stars in the NBA, but these types of situations don't help his image. This is not the first time fans got on Booker for his "soft mentality," as we can all remember him getting roasted for complaining about double-teams in summer pick-up games.
Those types of moments are unacceptable for a guy who is often compared to the late great Kobe Bryant. Can you even imagine Kobe or other stars complaining about double-teams or people distracting him at the free-throw line, let alone a single mascot? How would Booker react with a full arena booing him and trying to distract him? This mentality will stain your reputation, which is a shame for such a talented player.
At least after the game, Booker embraced the moment and shared how he hashed things out with "The Raptor":
And for the end, hopefully, Devin looks at what guys like Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird had to see when shooting their free throws. From lasers to posters of models, fans tried every way possible to get into players' minds. A mascot jumping around in an empty arena really shouldn't be much of a problem. Come on, Devin, you are better than that. We don't want the NBA to be labeled soft nowadays, but these types of moments don't help the cause.