Fans can be extremely passionate. This especially holds true when it comes to sports teams. Every fan wants to see their team do well, and when they aren’t doing well, it’s completely normal for fans to get disappointed. But disappointed to the point of booing their own home team in their arena? That seems excessive… or is it?
Players have long since expressed frustrations regarding fans booing them in their home arenas. Speaking to IndyStar Sports, Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George just made headlines just a few days ago calling out fans who boo the Pacers at home in Indiana when they are losing.
— Jim Ayello (@jamesayello) January 24, 2017
It’s true that Pacers have definitely been struggling. A team that was expected to be able to legitimately compete this season has lost four of their last seven games, and is currently sitting at 6th in the Eastern conference with a record of 23-22. However, Paul George is fresh off another All-Star selection, and despite their struggles, the team is still dedicated to their fans. Is it fair that they are receiving this treatment at home in Indiana?
Sure, some players are able to embrace booing and use it as fuel. The Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was infamous for embracing boos and using them to power his game. That “Black Mamba” mentality allowed him to embrace being the “villain” whenever he needed to be. However, it’s generally accepted that most players in the NBA would much rather be loudly cheered than booed, especially at home on their own court.
The negative treatment of teams by their home arenas has been recently touched on by other players, as well. Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder recently had some negative things to say about Boston fans cheering loudly for Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward during a January 3rd home game. He unleashed angry tirade on Twitter that he has since apologized for, but still stands by.
Jae Crowder wasn’t happy about fans cheering for Gordon Hayward: pic.twitter.com/lGYOII7Sao
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) January 4, 2017
HOME TEAM FANS CHEERING FOR THE OPPOSING PLAYERS NOW.. AW MAN OK… SMH BUT GOOD WIN FELLAS ONTO THE NEXT ONE.!!
— JAE CROWDER (@CJC9BOSS) January 4, 2017
— 98.5 The Sports Hub (@985TheSportsHub) January 5, 2017
Obviously, Boston fans weren’t booing the Celtics so much as they were cheering for the other team, but this is just as much of a problem as actually booing the team. Crowder was right to be pissed off. The the Celtics still ended up winning that that game 115-104, booing a team and/or cheering for the opposing team can suck the energy out of a home court. As Paul George mentioned in his comments earlier, teams generally “work harder off of cheers than boos.”
Another player that has had things to say recently and in past years about the home crowd disrespecting their team is Washington Wizards guard John Wall.
“We don’t wanna come home and feel like it’s a road game when we at home we already got 41 games on the road”
— DL3 (@Davidacosta1980) December 29, 2016
Echoing Paul George’s earlier sentiments, Wall’s comments were also largely in reference to fans at the Wizards’ Verizon Center cheering for opposing teams louder than their own home game. Talking to Comcast SportsNet’s Chris Miller, Wall stated that the team loves their home fans, and that when their fans are cheering for them, they hear it, and it helps motivate them to win.
Fans can definitely be a passionate bunch. It’s only natural to get frustrated when your team is not doing well, and anyone that has ever been in an NBA arena when the home team is losing knows that you will hear all sorts of comments shouted at the team when they are losing. However, fans must remember that their boos and cheers for other teams do take away that feeling of homecourt advantage for the home team, and often, just that feeling of being at home around their own fans can be enough to will a team to win.
Teams need their fans to win. Just something to keep in mind before deciding whether to boo or cheer the home team.