Fan runs onto court during game four
The Philadelphia 76ers entered game four of their opening round series against the Washington Wizards with only one thing on their mind – finishing the series off. The 76ers had won the first three games of the series and were looking to complete the sweep at Capital One Arena on Monday evening. It would have been a complete reversal of last season, where they swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
It wasn’t meant to be for Philadelphia though, as Washington fought their hearts out to keep the series alive and force a game five. But despite the Wizards’ strong performance, the talking point after the game wasn’t any particular player or moment of brilliance. Rather, it was the behaviour of a fan who decided to take things too far and run onto the court.
The game was halted with three minutes to play in the third quarter, after a fan ran onto the court and jumped to touch the backboard of the Wizards’ basket.
“This is not a game or some s— you can just do whatever you want to do and run around,” Wizards guard Russell Westbrook said after his team’s victory, via ESPN. “This is our job, and we take our job very seriously.”
This is not the first time a fan has taken things too far and gotten involved in the series, as last week Westbrook had a bag of popcorn spilled on him while exiting game two in Philadelphia.
“This was classless, unacceptable behavior, and we’re not going to tolerate it at Wells Fargo Center,” said the President of business operations for the Wells Fargo Center Valerie Camillo following the incident in game two. “We’re proud to have the most passionate fans in the country and the best home-court and home-ice advantage around, but this type of behavior has no place in our arena.”
This time though, the incident took place in Washington and has raised more concerns for player safety.
“They have no fear,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said, via ESPN. “I don’t know the law. But I just know you shouldn’t be able to do that and get away with it and just be kicked out because we all know you can dress different and look different and get into an arena.”
Thankfully, the fan was quickly taken down by security and nobody was hurt. However, the incident certainly raised more than a few eyebrows. Video surveillance shows the fan was able to run down the stands at full speed and past a few rows of court side seats in a matter of seconds before finally being tackled once on the court.
“It’s unfortunate that one fan, here and there, it ruined it for everyone,” Brooks continued. “There are great fans in Boston, New York, Philly, D.C., Utah. But there are some that need to just know, you know what? Stay home. Your thinking is barbaric.”
It remains to be seen if the league will look to introduce new security measures or policies to avoid more incidents like this from happening in the future.