‘And the Oscar goes to...’: NBA icon Russell Westbrook savaged by fans for ‘overreaction’ to fan dumping popcorn over him (VIDEO)
Westbrook attempted to confront the offending fan after he was showered by the confectionary while leaving the court for treatment to an injury he sustained in the Sixers' 120-95 win against the Wizards in the second game of their Eastern Conference series on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old star was en route to the dressing room to have an ankle injury looked over by the Wizards' medical staff when he was peppered with the snack from above the players' tunnel, prompting a furious reaction.
A Sixers fan poured popcorn on Russell Westbrook Smh. pic.twitter.com/qWXqe46bz0— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) May 27, 2021
fan pours popcorn on Westbrook as he’s being assisted off floor with an injury pic.twitter.com/tGcn4kqRqq— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 27, 2021
"I wouldn’t come up to me on the street and throw popcorn on my head, because you know what happens," said Westbrook after the game.
"In these arenas, you gotta start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does."
The fan in question was quickly ejected from the arena by security staff - with Wizards coach Scott Brooks issuing a stark defence of his player, saying that he hopes the fan in question is permanently banned from the stadium, saying that "Philadelphia is better than that."
The 76ers also noted the incident in a statement of their own, saying that they welcome passion from their fans so long as they don't target opposition players.
"This was classless, unacceptable behavior, and we’re not going to tolerate it at Wells Fargo Center," said Valerie Camillo, the team's president of business operations.
"We’re proud to have the most passionate fans in the country… but this type of behavior has no place in our arena."
By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! There’s cameras all over arenas so there’s no excuse! Cause if the 👟 was on the other 🦶🏾.🎥 #ProtectOurPlayers— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 27, 2021
LeBron James, the biggest star in the sport, also took aim at the situation facing some players and defended Westbrook's furious reaction to the incident.
"By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! There’s cameras all over arenas so there’s no excuse! Cause if the [shoe] was on the other [foot]," the Los Angeles Lakers superstar tweeted, also including the hashtag #ProtectOurPlayers.
Sixers fans have a history of respecting Westbrook pic.twitter.com/RobR48qWFz— Wega 🇰🇪 (@wk2trey) May 27, 2021
At the Oscar for best dramatic performance by a leading man goes to:...Russell Westbrook for his dramatic overreaction to a fan dropping 7 pieces of popcorn on his head! pic.twitter.com/afYq0dSEfa— Russ Laraway's sports burner (@russlaraway) May 27, 2021
If this happened to me, at first I would’ve assumed that someone dropped their popcorn by accident.I understand how passionate Westbrook is but he needs to calm down a bit.— James V (@jvs500) May 27, 2021
Westbrook and the 76ers have had a complicated history. Four years ago, a fan sitting court-side was also ejected by security after he was seen flashing his middle finger towards the player.
"For me, there are a lot of incidents where fans, they say whatever, and the consequences for me are a lot more instrumental than to the fans in the stands because they feel they are untouchable," Westbrook said. "To get food thrown on top of me, it's just bullsh*t," Westbrook added in the post-game presser.
"Obviously, I have learned to look the other way. But to a certain extent, you can't just keep looking the other way. There has to be some penalties or something to put in place where fans just can't come to the games and do and say as they please.
"I really take this very personal. I am tired of the same thing. To me, I don't really see nothing changing. It just gets worse."Also on rt.com NBA legend Barkley slams LeBron James Covid protocol treatment and claims bosses don’t ‘have the balls’ to ban star player (VIDEO)
However, several fans online didn't quite endorse Westbrook's reaction to the popcorn incident, with one claiming that his performance was worthy of the Oscar for best dramatic performance by a leading man.
"I understand how passionate Westbrook is but he needs to calm down a bit," added another.