PHILADELPHIA: Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook called for more protection for players after a fan poured popcorn on his head as he made his way to the dressing room during Wednesday's NBA play-offs game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Westbrook was limping to the locker room after suffering an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and was showered with popcorn by a fan seated above the tunnel at the Wells Fargo Center.
Westbrook reacted furiously and had to be held back by Wizards staff and security guards.
"I wouldn't come up to me on the street and throw popcorn on my head because you know what happens," Westbrook said.
"In these arenas, you got to start protecting the players. We'll see what the NBA does.
ESPN reported a fan seated near the tunnel was escorted out shortly after the incident, which came with 10 minutes left in Game 2 in the first round of the playoffs. The 76ers won 120-95 to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
"For me, there are a lot of incidents where fans, they say whatever, and the consequences for me are a lot more instrumental than to the fans in the stands because they feel they are untouchable," Westbrook added.
"Obviously I have learned to look the other way. But to a certain extent, you can't just keep looking the other way. There has to be some penalties or something to put in place where fans just can't come to the games and do and say as they please."
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said the fan should be banned while the Wells Fargo Center released a statement saying the incident was "classless, unacceptable behavior" from the fan.
"We're proud to have the most passionate fans in the country ... but this type of behavior has no place in our arena," Valerie Camillo, the president of Business Operations for the Wells Fargo Center, said. -- Reuters