Fans behaving badly at sports events is no new phenomenon, but who do NBA betting fans think are the worst offenders?
Join us as we find out what the followers of each team think of each other. You might… or might not be surprised!
It’s not uncommon to see NBA fans fight each other, but it might help to know who the worst-behaved fans are (so we can at least duck out of the way of their bodily fluids at the next game). Yes, that’s right, some fans are known for hurling spit at people… charming.
To investigate the issue, we polled over 2,000 NBA fans and got their input on four distinct behaviours: physical aggression, throwing objects, profanity, and spitting. Find out the results down below.
SWEARING & PROFANITIES
SPITTING DURING GAMES
Our polled NBA fans admit to carrying out bad behaviour — which teams do they support and who are the top 5 worst fans based on behaviour?
Possibly not surprisingly, LA Clippers fans were ranked #1 in physical aggression, swearing and profanities. The Clippers are the second team in Hollywood behind the more popular and wildly more successful LA Lakers. The Clippers have won zero championships, while the Lakers have won 17 titles. It’s no wonder Clippers fans are so angry when they have to play second fiddle to a team like that!
At least the Clippers fans don’t throw errant objects, unlike the Denver Nuggets fans who aren’t shy about hurling almost anything at opposing players, especially empty beer cups. The Nuggets were also ranked in the top five for physical aggression and spitting. Perhaps it's the thin air of Colorado that makes them act rudely?
But what about spitting? What could possess a human to do something so gross? Well, maybe you should ask the Charlotte Hornets fans as they were ranked #1 for spitting at players.
When teams lack star players or have bad luck with injuries, fans will create a hostile environment for visiting teams to help their home team gain an edge. Loud and boisterous fans are what make road games tough for many teams, but some fanbases cross the line by throwing objects or spitting at players.
Atlanta Hawks fans were ranked #2 in two categories including throwing objects and cursing. The Hawks won the NBA championship only once back in 1958, but their team has not won a title in 62 years. More than a half-century of frustration has been built up. That frustration manifests into poor behaviour from Atlanta fans… we aren’t really feeling that famed southern hospitality!
If you’re a fan of the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets or Cleveland Cavaliers, then look away now…
Use the drop-down below to find out who your NBA team’s fans voted as the worst behaved.
Boston is always one of the toughest trips for visiting teams, no matter what sport, because of their exuberant and fervent fanbase. It's no surprise that Boston Celtics fans were recognized as #1 in being voted as the worst behaved and that they even voted for themselves!
Elsewhere, the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers always clashed as divisional foes, but the Malice at the Palace in 2004 deepened their divide, so it makes sense that Pacers fans voted for Pistons fans as the worst.
The Chicago Bulls won six championships with Michael Jordan, who is regarded as the greatest player of all time. As a result of their dynasty in the 1990s, many opposing teams are still jealous of the Bulls’ success two decades later, making them a prime target in our poll!
Interestingly, seven teams voted themselves (as a badge of honour?) as the trashiest fans in the NBA – Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Bucks, Timberwolves, and 76ers.
Do fans believe that current punishments such as fan removal or lifetime bans are harsh enough to curtail bad behaviour? Or are fans who cross the line treated unfairly?
The Indiana Pacers led all fans polled in asking for stricter and harsher punishments for bad behaviour. In the state of Indiana, basketball is almost a religion. It makes sense that these diehard fans want the NBA to clean up the game.
Despite ranking highly for bad fan behaviour, the Atlanta Hawks were also at the top of the list of those seeking harsher punishments for bad fans. Perhaps their conscience is finally getting the better of them?
The Boston Celtics boast one of the most successful franchises in the NBA with 17 championships, but their fanbase has also been voted as one of the worst. Despite this, they too would like to see harsher punishments for bad fan behaviour — go figure.
Looking to brush up on your news-worthy NBA fan incidents? Then let's take a quick look back at some of the most notable events in recent NBA history.
In January 2022, a Philadelphia 76ers fan was ejected from their game with the LA Lakers for using racially charged language during an altercation with Carmelo Anthony.
In 2004, players from the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons rushed into the stands at the Palace in Auburn Hills and an all-out melee occurred. Known as the "Malice at the Palace", the NBA wants to avoid a repeat of this crazy event.
With fans being so close to the action, it's not a surprise that tempers occasionally boil over. Back in 2018, Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder knocked down a game-winning shot against the Denver Nuggets and was confronted by an angry Nuggets fan, but luckily avoided a fight.
Part of the problem with fans behaving badly is, of course, alcohol consumption. In 2021, LeBron James from the LA Lakers learned this firsthand after his altercation with what the media dubbed a "courtside Karen" during an Atlanta Hawks game. The "Karen" had a little too much wine to drink, which gave her the liquid courage to talk smack with the NBA's top star.
Players are trained and prepped in the art of blocking out abuse and criticism from fans, but not so much with bodily fluids… During the 2021 NBA playoffs, Trae Young from the Atlanta Hawks drew the ire of New York Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden, with one fan despicably spitting on Young after the game ended.
One of the most dangerous acts that a fan can do is to hurl a potentially lethal object. During the 2010 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers, an inebriated Celtics fan threw an empty vodka bottle at Lamar Odom from the Lakers.
In January 2022, sport betting experts Onlinecasino.ca surveyed 2,000 NBA fans on their behaviours and attitudes at NBA games. There were at least 50 fans from each NBA team to ensure even representation.
For a full breakdown of the research, please click here.