Some New Orleans Pelicans fans had a message for Jae Crowder on Thursday.
It wasn't very nice. They wore the message on some T-shirts at Smoothie King Arena that most certainly weren't licensed by the NBA. They read: "F*** Jae Crowder."
Well, the Phoenix Suns went on to a 115-109 win to close out a hard-fought six-game series against the Pelicans and advance to the second round of the playoffs. When it was over, Crowder showed up to his postgame news conference wearing shades and — what else — a "F*** Jae Crowder" T-shirt.
Jae Crowder: “What’s so funny?” pic.twitter.com/uwIbZs0Hd9
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) April 29, 2022
He was also sporting a big smile after tallying nine points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. If feels good to score a hard-fought win.
And he wasn't alone. His teammate Devin Booker, who returned on Thursday from a hamstring injury to score 13 points in the closeout win, joined him with the look, complete with shades and a matching T-shirt.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 29, 2022
After the game, Booker made sure to let everybody know what the censored letter stood for.
Foul Jae Crowder. OK. Got it.
It turns out that we all have Booker and Suns assistant coach Jarrett Jack to thank for the postgame shenanigans — and the pregame bulletin-board material. Video captured Booker during the pregame shootaround meeting with Jack, who had procured a pair of red T-shirts. Booker gleefully accepted one and ran back toward the locker room, presumably to share with Crowder and the rest of his teammates.
Whether or not the shirts actually inspired and impacted the Suns' play in their win can't be known. There was plenty of motivation to start with in a closeout game. But they sure made for a livelier postgame.