The NBA, it seems, isn’t done dealing with fan incidents during the 2021-22 season.
A fan sitting courtside during the Los Angeles Lakers' 115-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night was ejected from Staples Center after appearing to get into an altercation with Rajon Rondo.
It’s not clear what started the incident in the second half, but Rondo was seen making a finger gun gesture with his hand at the face of a fan sitting courtside. After doing it a few times, the fan was seen slapping Rondo’s hand away.
And now Rondo is pointing a finger gun in a fans face??? What is happening in LA tonight?!?!
Warriors in five pic.twitter.com/JObBrruJu9
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@Jason) October 23, 2021
Rondo returned his hand to the same position briefly, and then the fan was kicked out of the game.
It’s unclear what was said between the two, or who the fan was.
Rondo has his back to the action at the time, too.
A fan slapped Rondo's hand. SMH.pic.twitter.com/uOXRE1G8yc
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) October 23, 2021
Rondo said Saturday that he and the fan were "exchanging words," and that he "just wanted to get the guy out of the game," via The Athletic's Jovan Buha. He didn't elaborate on what was said, but did say that nothing was threatening.
As to why he was making a finger gun at the fan, Rondo said, "I was pointing at that guy." He said it wasn't his intention to make a finger gun, though that was clearly the gesture he was making.
Rondo, 35, is currently on a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Lakers. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench as the Lakers dropped to 0-2.
The incident marks just the latest fan altercation at an NBA game since fans were allowed back in after the COVID-19 pandemic limited attendance. Last season during the playoffs, fans sprinted onto the court during a game, spit onto Trae Young, dumped popcorn onto Russell Westbrook, threw beer onto Immanuel Quickley and threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving — which resulted in a fan getting arrested. The Utah Jazz banned three fans for using abusive language toward Memphis star Ja Morant’s family in the stands, too.
While Rondo was seen clearly interacting with the fan on Friday night, it’s obvious the NBA’s problem with fans hasn’t disappeared completely just yet.