Russell Westbrook confronted a male fan and his wife Monday night during the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s win at Utah, telling the man he would “f—” him up and do the same to his wife.
The exchange was caught on video and posted to Twitter by a reporter for Utah’s Deseret News. It was unclear what prompted the exchange.
According to the Deseret News, five fans received “warning cards” related to the incident. The cards cited comments, gestures and/or behaviors directed at players in violation of the NBA’s code of conduct for fans. All of the fans were able to return to their seats, the Deseret News reported.
— Ute Believer (@UteBeliever) March 12, 2019
“I promise you,” Westbrook said in the exchange. “You think I’m playing. I swear to god. I swear to god. I’ll f— you up; you and your wife. I’ll f— you up.”
Someone off-camera then appears to attempt to verbally intervene.
“No, f— that! F— that!” Westbrook shouts, pausing before resuming his initial exchange.
“I promise you, everything I love,” Westbrook said. “Everything I love n—-, I promise you.”
Westbrook did not draw any discipline from the game officials for the exchange during the Thunder’s 98-89 win.
He spoke to reporters after the game, saying the fan “told me to ‘get down on my knees like you used to.'” The fan, Shane Keisel, said he told Westbrook to “sit down and ice your knees.”
Russell Westbrook says the comment from the Jazz fan that set him off was: “Get down on your knees like you’re used to.” pic.twitter.com/i0vIlblSwJ
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 12, 2019
Westbrook was wearing large heating packs — which resembled ice packs — on his legs. Keisel also said Westbrook told him, “It’s heat,” to which the fan replied, “You’re gonna need it.”
Westbrook then responded with the expletives, Keisel said.
Westbrook further said in his postgame comments that he never has and never would get physically violent with a woman, but that he was so offended, he would take the same actions and say the same thing if he had it to do over again.
“But once he said the comment, and his wife repeated the same thing, as well, that’s kind of how that started,” Westbrook said.
The Jazz said they were investigating the incident and confirmed the issuance of the warning cards.
“Players and fans have a shared responsibility to create a safe and respectful environment,” the Jazz said in a statement. “If it is determined that any fans violated the NBA Code of Conduct, appropriate action will be taken.”
The incident was reminiscent of the finale of last year’s first-round playoff series between the Jazz and Thunder, in which Utah ousted OKC in Game 6, after which Westbrook became involved with a fan as he exited the court.
“I didn’t confront fans; fans confronted me,” Westbrook said after the April 2018 game. “Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It’s truly disrespectful. Talk about your families, your kids. It’s truly disrespectful to the game, man.”
That night, Westbrook slapped at a fan’s cellphone as he walked to the tunnel following the Thunder’s loss after scoring 46 points on 43 shots. It was the second interaction that night for Westbrook with a courtside fan, with him turning and snapping at one who said something to him as he exited the floor at halftime.
“I think it’s something that needs to be brought up,” he continued in April. “I’m tired of just going out and playing, then the fans saying whatever the hell they want to say. I’m not with that. If I was on the street, they wouldn’t just come up to me and say anything crazy, because I don’t play that s—. So, to disrespect me and do whatever they want to do needs to be put to a stop, especially here in Utah.”