Due to numerous incidents involving players and fans less than a week into the playoffs, the NBA issued an official statement in which the league vowing to strongly enforce its guidelines for fan conduct in arenas.
“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans. An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.”
The NBA Fan Code of Conduct can be read here.
There’s a list of prohibited items in NBA arenas as well.
Fan conduct started making news when Washington Wizards superstar Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him by a fan in Philadelphia as he left for the locker room with ankle issues.
The fan’s season ticket was revoked and the Sixers banned him indefinitely from the arena.
Russell Westbrook appeared to have popcorn poured on his head by a fan on his way to the locker room with an apparent injury.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 27, 2021
The fan was ejected from the game. pic.twitter.com/WgtvKMFYHH
On the same night, Atlanta Hawks star guard Trae Young was spat on in Madison Square Garden. The NBA offered Young the option of filing a complaint against the fan, but Trae refused.
That fan is banned indefinitely from MSG.
A few days later, the Utah Jazz banned three fans for a verbal incident that occurred during Game 2 of the first-round series concerning Ja’ Morant’s family on Wednesday night.
Jazz owner apologized to the entire Morant family.
Memphis Grizzlies and Morant family… we are embarrassed and sorry. The @UtahJazz have zero tolerance for offensive behavior. We are committed to creating a respectful, competitive environment. https://t.co/cLsKWSk1l1— Ryan Smith (@RyanQualtrics) May 28, 2021
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, fan behavior at games hasn’t been a real concern other than isolated incidents. Nonetheless, with restrictions being uplifted and teams starting hosting upwards of 10,000 fans in their arenas, fan conduct is now a concern.