Fans come to games to be entertained and spend their hard-earned money to cheer for their favorite basketball players and taunt the opposing team, although sometimes some fans abuse their rights and cross the line, especially in the NBA.
Former Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin, who has had his fair share of in-game fights and verbal altercations with the fans, once shared his thoughts on the subject. But more importantly, he yearns to end all that unnecessary drama.
When worse comes to worst
In a piece he wrote for BasketballNews.com last year, Martin said as far as these fights go, he had already “seen how ugly things can get.” And while he has had a few with his fellow players, K-Mart will never forget the nasty brawl with the fans that broke out during his Cincinnati Bearcats days in college.
“When I was playing college ball at Cincinnati, we had some a crazy rivalry with UNC Charlotte. Things always got really hostile,” Martin wrote. “One game in particular was called off a little early, after fans started throwing stuff at my teammates and me. Things got ugly; we went into the stands, punches were thrown, one fan suffered a broken jaw and a number of us got suspended. The next time we went back, that section where the fans were sitting was moved back a bit.”
There’s a solution
In the NBA, the infamous Malice at the Palace in Detroit is arguably the worst player vs. fan brawl in history. But the moment Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James got a couple of Indiana Pacers fans escorted by security out of the arena for “obscene gestures and words” proved that such incidents don’t always involve physical altercations.
Sharing his unsolicited solution, Martin said that be it the NBA or NCAA, “Home teams need to accept responsibility and accountability for the people they let into their building.” Or better yet, ban all fans from watching live games.
“A lot of fans today want to get you to react. That’s why they’re taking it to the next level,” Martin explained. “So the league needs to follow suit and take a heavy-handed approach to these incidents involving fans, because if they don’t, something crazy is going to happen again…If there are multiple instances of fans acting out against players, the league should suspend fan attendance altogether. Again, it’s the only way to really nip this all in the bud.”
While Martin makes a good point, fans still play a huge role in the game. And the sad truth is players just have to deal with those who go overboard while doing their best not to hurt anybody and perform at the best of their abilities on the court.