Keep your hands off the players. No matter how close you get, or who the guy might be, never reach for physical contact unless the player says it's okay.
One young fan learned this the hard way, after being scolded by Russell Westbrook during a live game. After the fan reached out and tapped Russ on the side, he gave a long stare before going over to have a chat.
Once the game was over, he used the incident to illustrate a bigger issue.
“He hit me,” Westbrook said, “So I told his dad, ‘be careful, man, you can’t have your son just hitting random people. I don’t know him, he don’t know me. So, just letting him know, ‘You’ve just got to control your kids.’”
“For all fans though, there’s too much leeway for the fans to be able to touch the players and get away with it, and then you can’t react and do the things that we need to do to protect ourselves. … But I can’t do nothing. What am I going to do, hop in the stands?”
In this case, it was a harmless kid who just wanted to connect to his favorite star. But what if it wasn't some harmless child? What if it was an angry fan? By allowing this type of contact, the NBA is setting a precedent that it's okay.
While nobody is expecting anything major to happen, the NBA should definitely take a look at how to improve the safety of these players in these types of situations. Russ certainly raised attention to that cause.