NBA fans better not mess with Tristan Thompson.
Thompson spoke ahead of Friday’s Game 3 in the Celtics-Nets series about the recent rash of fan-player incidents, and the C’s big man made it clear that spectators better not try anything like what has been seen elsewhere at the start of the 2021 NBA playoffs.
“I dare a motherf—er to spit on me,” Thompson said, per CLNS Media. “I’ll follow you right to your house.”
Considering that Thompson stands 6-9 and weighs 254 pounds, it would probably be in fans’ best interest to avoid angering him.
Boston is at home for the next two games of the series, so it doesn’t seem likely that fans at TD Garden would go after their own player.
Still, Thompson felt the need to get that message out after a Knicks fan spit at the Hawks’ Trae Young during Game 3 of the New York-Atlanta series Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks banned the fan from the arena. The Young incident was just the latest one of several during the NBA postseason.
The 76ers on Wednesday banned a fan from the Wells Fargo Center for dumping popcorn on Wizards guard Russell Westbrook as Westbrook walked to the locker room. The Jazz banned multiple fans from Vivint Arena for hurling racist, vulgar comments at the family of Grizzlies guard Ja Morant during the first two games of the Jazz-Grizzlies series.
The topic has received a lot of attention in Boston after Nets guard Kyrie Irving called out fans there ahead of Games 3 and 4, accusing them of “subtle racism.”
Thompson was asked whether he had anything “racial” said to him when he was with the Cavaliers.
“Yeah, of course, definitely,” Thompson said, per WBZ’s Dan Roche. “I mean, I think that’s what makes Boston fans special, not the racism part, but the part that they’re very into the game and they want to be the sixth man on the court with how they can get under our skin and taunt us and try to do that. I’ve definitely heard guys say some crazy stuff, but I think that they’re just trying to do that to try into the player’s head and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
“At the end of the day, my experience, personally, being a Celtic, nobody has said anything racial to me as a player.
“As a visitor, it’s a different story. But I mean, if they choose to use those kind of words to get a player’s attention, that just comes from their home training and the lack of home training, that’s what my mom would say. So for us, me being a Celtic now, they’ve been great, they’ve embraced me with open arms and supported me. So hopefully they can be loud tonight and be a huge for us in the crowd tonight.”
Thompson’s account isn’t exactly the same as that of teammate Marcus Smart, but it does also run counter to Celtics president Danny Ainge saying he has “never heard” players complain about racism during his 26 years with the organization.
But as Thompson said, there’s hope that fan antics similar to the ones at the other games won’t be on display Friday at TD Garden.
If they are, then Thompson may just have a problem.
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