Arena security removed the fan — a partial season-ticket holder — from the court. A source tells ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that following the incident, law enforcement issued a summons and complaint for trespass, and the fan has been banned from games.
“We can confirm that the Denver Police Department was involved as well as arena security officials,” the Nuggets said in a statement. “The matter has been passed on to the NBA and they will be investigating the incident further and handling the matter internally.”
Video of the bizarre confrontation showed the man walk onto the court and scream in Westbrook’s face as the Nuggets and fans at the Pepsi Center celebrated the wild aftermath of Gary Harris‘ game-winning 3-pointer.
Westbrook was walking off the court when the fan got in front of him. Westbrook pushed the fan in the shoulder with his left hand before a referee and an arena employee intervened and motioned for the fan to leave the court.
Asked after the game if he felt shoving the fan was the only way for him to protect himself, Westbrook responded, “Of course.”
The NBA reviewed the incident but ultimately decided against punishment for Westbrook, as there was no aggression or engagement from the reigning MVP toward the fan. Unlike other player/fan interactions that have produced fines — like Stephen Curry throwing his mouthpiece into the crowd or Rodney Hood knocking a phone out of a fan’s hand while exiting the court — Westbrook didn’t step outside the playing floor to interact with the fan.
The league is further reviewing protocols for all arena security, as well as whether to recommend changes or enhancements to staffing or security locations. In Denver, the league found the team had appropriate levels of staffing and security was in the proper locations.
As for the game itself, the NBA, via its “Last Two Minute Report,” said Denver’s Nikola Jokic did not commit an inbound violation ahead of the play that led to Harris’ winner. The league deemed that Jokic shuffled his feet but did not leave the designated throw-in spot. The report also said he held the ball for 5.1 seconds, which was not deemed an incorrect call.