Damian Lillard became the latest NBA star to speak out about the recent string of incidents involving fans during the first round of the league’s playoffs.
Like most players, the Portland Trail Blazers sharpshooter has had enough of the disgusting fan behavior. However, he recognized how difficult it is to police the actions of tens of thousands of fans at once.
“Unfortunately it’s something that you really can’t control,” Lillard said, per Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report. “You can put more security in the stands and try to monitor as many people as possible, but somebody throwing a bottle from their seat you really can’t control. That’s who that person is. That’s what they decide to do in that moment…”
Lillard’s comments came in the wake of a fan at TD Garden throwing a bottle at Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving on Sunday. The individual was arrested and the Celtics announced that they had permanently banned him from the arena.
But Lillard hopes that the NBA can take things even further and start to keep abusive fans out of arenas league-wide.
“… one thing you can do is make the consequences something crazy,” the Blazers guard continued. “I see a lot of these people getting banned for life from some of these arena, I think they should be banned from NBA games, period. Not just in Boston or Philly or whatever, they should be banned from NBA games, period, so they know that there’s a major consequence if they decide that that’s what they want to do.
“Other than that, something’s gonna happen to the wrong person and it’s not gonna be good. So hopefully it stops.”
I asked Damian Lillard today after practice what he thinks actually could and should be done about recent fan incidents. His perspective: pic.twitter.com/SV2DG3QJQM
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) May 31, 2021
As the Blazers guard points out, monitoring fan behavior is a tricky thing to do. Hopefully, implementing the heaviest penalties possible will send a message that unruly actions are unacceptable.