The crowd in Madison Square Garden was raucous on Wednesday night for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first round series between the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks. The energy in New York City was palpable and helped will the Knicks to a crucial 101-92 victory.
But one fan took things too far on Wednesday.
As Hawks point guard Trae Young prepared to inbound the ball in the fourth quarter of the close game, a person sitting in the second row appeared to spit at him. The 22-year-old didn't seem to notice what was happening behind him but other fans clearly saw what happened.
Young has quickly established himself as a villain to the Knicks faithful, but nothing justifies the gross actions of the so-called "fan" on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, the Hawks point guard addressed the perpetrator with a message on Twitter.
"Keep ya mask on my boy#ThatsJustChildish,"
Keep ya mask on my boy😷😅#ThatsJustChildish
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) May 27, 2021
">Young tweeted on Thursday morning.
Unfortunately, the incident involving Young wasn't the only disgusting action by a fan on Wednesday night in the NBA. As Russell Westbrook headed to the locker room with an ankle injury, a Philadelphia 76ers fan dumped popcorn onto him. The Washington Wizards point guard had to be held back from going into the crowd.
After the game, he called upon the NBA to take decisive action.
“I wouldn’t come up to me on the street and throw popcorn on my head, because you know what happens…” Westbrook said in a postgame media session, per The Athletic’s Fred Katz. “In these arenas, you gotta start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does.”
Having fans back in arenas for sporting events makes for an incredible atmosphere, but only if those in the crowd are acting appropriately. Hopefully we've seen the last of unacceptable fan behavior in this year's NBA playoffs.