Russell Westbrook said he will not tolerate personal abuse directed towards him or his family after becoming involved in a heated exchange with a fan during the Los Angeles Clippers’ 113-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Despite the absences of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon, Denver secured back-to-back wins as Reggie Jackson led the way with 35 points at Crypto.com Arena on Monday.
With the Clippers down 113-102 with just 30 seconds remaining and heading for their ninth loss of the season, Westbrook stood at midcourt to exchange words with a fan located behind the courtside seats, with referee Lauren Holtkamp keeping a close eye on the incident.
Westbrook then returned to midcourt when the buzzer sounded, as Clippers security staff came over to prevent an escalation of the confrontation.
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Asked about the incident after the defeat, Westbrook said: “I mean, it’s unfortunate. Fans think they can say whatever they want. I’m not going to say [what was said] now because it’s not appropriate, but I’m just protecting myself.
“It’s just unfortunate fans think they can get away with saying anything and, personally, I won’t allow it. I’ve [taken] a lot of people saying anything and getting away with it, but I won’t stand for it.
“I understand fans are enjoying the game and feeling up to whatever that may be. I guess they feel they can say whatever, but this is our job.
“All the negative comments about family and things of that nature, I would stay away from. But anything else, they can say what they want.”
Final from DTLA pic.twitter.com/EoOz1FWzFs
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 28, 2023
Westbrook, who has been involved in several altercations with fans in recent seasons, intimated it was a personal comment of that nature which provoked his response.
“Now having kids and understanding how important it is, not just myself but my last name… Understanding what Westbrook means, understanding how important that is to my dad, my grandfather, my family. It’s very important,” he said.
“It’s something I stand on, and respect is a big thing that I value. So the moment that line gets crossed, I won’t allow no more.
“I’ve stood for it for years, and now my son is old enough to know what’s going on, asking me, ‘Hey Dad, what does that mean?’ I’ve got to stand on it.”