Having fans back in the arena did not only bring the atmosphere but also the hostility towards opposing players. Game 2 of the first round series between the hosts Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards included an incident caused by a fan.
As the Wizards star Russell Westbrook was on his way to the locker room due to a leg injury, a fan threw popcorn on his head. The 32-year-old guard was furious and wanted to go to the fan just to be stopped by the force of the personnel surrounding him.
After the game, Westbrook called for the NBA to take care of players’ security. He also made a remark that the fan who threw popcorn on him wouldn’t have done it on the street.
“I wouldn’t come up to me on the street and throw popcorn on my head, because you know what happens…In these arenas, you gotta start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does,” he said, per Fred Katz.