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NBA star Russell Westbrook threatens fan after comments he deemed "racial"

Editor's Note: The fan at the center of this story, identified as Shane Keisel, has been permanently banned from attending any future Utah Jazz games. Read the latest update here. Our original story appears below.


Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook threatened a Utah Jazz fan during the team's 98-89 win in Salt Lake City on Monday night. Westbrook, who has complained about Jazz fans in the past, said after the game he was triggered by comments he considered "racial" and "inappropriate" from the fan, now identified as Shane Keisel.

During the second quarter, a visibly angry Westbrook was caught on camera hurling expletives directed at Keisel, telling him he was going to "f*** up" him and his wife. Westbrook said Keisel told him to, "Get down on your knees like you're used to." He believed it was "racial" and "inappropriate," and he made a point about players' safety.

Thunder Westbrook Basketball
Russell Westbrook gets into a verbal altercation with fans against the Utah Jazz on Monday, March 11, 2019. AP

"There's got to be some consequences for those type of people that come to the game just to say and do whatever they want to say," he said post-game. "I don't think it's fair to the players — not just to me, but I don't think it's fair to the players."

His teammate, Patrick Patterson, was sitting next to him on the bench during the exchange. Patterson backed Westbrook's account and claimed the fan said "more." Another teammate, Raymond Felton, stood by Westbrook and questioned why security didn't do something about the fans earlier.

However, Keisel told KSL-TV a different account of how the verbal exchange went down.  

"I thought we were having fun to be honest," he said. "He had heat [on]. I thought it was ice. I just told him, 'sit down and ice your knees bro.' And he turned to me and was like, 'That's heat. That's heat.' I'm like, 'Well you're gonna need it' and then it turned not safe for work." 

Keisel claimed he didn't use any insults at Westbrook, but he took issue when Westbrook went after his female companion.

"He can threaten me all he wants, but don't threaten a woman," he said. "Her first NBA game ever. Welcome to the NBA, Jen."

Westbrook also addressed that part of his tirade: "As for beating up his wife, I've never put my hand on a woman. I never will. Once he said the comment, his wife repeated the same thing to me. That's kinda how that started." 

The rocky relationship between Westbrook and Jazz fans didn't just begin Monday. It was on display in the NBA playoffs last year. After Game 6 of the Thunder's first-round playoff series loss to the Jazz, Westbrook was seen swiping at a fan's phone as he exited the court.