The NBA postseason has been anything but ordinary, and that continued on Saturday when the brother of Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo was ejected from Game 5 against the Houston Rockets for trash-talking Russell Westbrook.
William Rondo, who was sitting in the Lakers’ family section, was escorted out of the arena during the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ decisive Game 5 119-96 victory over the Rockets after getting into a spat with Westbrook.
James was shooting a free throw with 7:42 remaining when Westbrook began walking toward the Lakers family section and started yelling at someone.
Westbrook was restrained by the officials and was reportedly shouting “who you talking to?” while security pinpointed William as the culprit and removed him from the arena.
Per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post, the NBA has a policy restricting fan conduct within the bubble – which is limited to friends and family of players – and has warned guests not to be verbally aggressive at games.
Rajon Rondo told reporters after the game that his brother called Westbrook “trash” and gave him the “Damian Lillard” wave.
“He didn’t do anything crazy,” Rajon said, per ESPN. “He called the man ‘trash.’ Fans do what fans do. He’s my brother first. He didn’t do anything disrespectful.”
Westbrook, however, painted a different picture.
“People at the game, you’re supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game,” Westbrook said. “That’s the rules, especially when you have families and people here. Apparently, [Rajon] Rondo was talking s—t, [William] decided he wanted to hop in too.
“Those rules stand for everybody. When you cross that line, he’s supposed to be at home. He started talking crazy and I don’t play that.”
Rajon hopes his brother will not face further discipline. William has been in the NBA bubble since July and is in charge of the barbers, manicurists and hair braiders working there through his company.
Westbrook has had previous run-ins with fans, too. Last season, Westbrook got into a heated exchange with a fan in Utah while playing with the Oklahoma City Thunder after the fan allegedly told him to “get on your knees like you’re used to.” The fan was banned from Utah’s arena for life while Westbrook was fined $25,000 for his role.
In 2018, Westbrook slapped a Jazz fan’s cellphone while walking to the tunnel after a playoff game just ended. In 2016, a Sixers fan was ejected from a game after giving Westbrook the finger.