James said there was a bold line between cheering for your team and being disrespectful.
LeBron James became the latest to voice his support for Russell Westbrook after the Thunder point guard got into a verbal altercation with a fan in Utah on Monday.
Westbrook was heard using profanity in the incident with the heckler, responding to fans by saying, "I'll f--- you up. You and your wife." Westbrook said the incident started when, "a young man and his wife in the stands told [him] 'to get down on my knees like you used to." Westbrook told reporters, "To me, that’s just completely disrespectful, to me, I think it’s racial, and I think it’s inappropriate and insensitive."
Warning, this video contains explicit language.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, James defended Westbrook.
"Obviously Russ is a very passionate guy," James said. "No matter if you like him or love him and the way he plays the game, the guy is one of the most loyal people that I know, one of the most down-to-earth guys that I know, and that guy just took it too far on the other end. There could have been some words that Russ could have said a little bit differently, but at the end of the day, he was in the right and that guy was in the wrong."
James also praised the Jazz for permanently banning the fan who heckled Westbrook, adding that there was a bold line between cheering for one's team and being disrespectful.
"Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy and play the game in a safe, positive and inclusive environment," Jazz President Steve Starks said in the statement. "Offensive and abusive behavior does not reflect the values of the Miller family, our organization and the community. We all have a responsibility to respect the game of basketball and, more importantly, each other as human beings. This has always been a hallmark of our incredible fan base and should forever be our standard moving forward."
The Thunder next face the Nets on Wednesday.