Phoenix Suns’ point guard Chris Paul is in the middle of the latest incident between NBA fans and players after at least one fan allegedly harassed his family and “put hands on” his mother during the Suns’ Mother’s Day playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Paul’s mother and wife were seated amongst the crowd in Dallas’ American Airlines Center when the incident occurred. In a video posted to ESPN’s SportsCenter IG account, Paul is seen telling a fan, “I’ll see you later,” as the fan is escorted from his seat. It’s unclear at what point during the game the incident occurred. Paul fouled out of the Western Conference semifinals game in the fourth quarter of the 111-104 loss; the series is now tied at two games each.
Both Paul and the Dallas Mavericks acknowledged the incident after the game, but without giving exact details of what happened. Paul tweeted his anger and frustration at fans’ ability to harass players and their families while players face fines for retaliation.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that a fan pushed Paul’s wife, Jada Crawley, and “put hands on” his mother, all while in the presence of Paul’s children. The couple has two children, Chris II and Carmyn.
The Mavs issued a statement after the game calling the incident “unacceptable” and confirming that a fan was removed from the arena.
Sunday’s incident marked another chapter in the debate over civility between NBA fans, who generally sit in closer proximity to players than in other sports, and players, who say they’re subject to degrading comments and other treatment while on the job.
Last week, Golden State Warriors forward was fined $25,000 by the NBA for putting up his middle finger at fans in Memphis the night before. Green was leaving the court to have stitches put above his right eye after suffering a cut during a Warriors road playoff win over the Grizzlies.
In April, the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving was fined $50,000 by the Association for making a similar gesture toward Boston Celtics fans during a game, which, by the way, was in a city with a long history of terrible behavior toward Black players.