A near-fracas that unfolded during Thursday night’s NBA playoff game between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks was broken up by an unlikely source – Kevin Durant’s personal bodyguard.
The bodyguard ran on to the court during a confrontation between his client and an opposing player and may have escalated it by pushing the Bucks forward involved in the heated exchange.
With less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter of Thursday night’s game, Durant was seen getting in the face of Bucks forward P.J. Tucker, with both appearing to be heated after Tucker was called for a foul.
Tucker appeared to disagree with the call and Durant decided to dish some trash talk right back, leading up to the mini-skirmish.
A ‘personal bodyguard’ for Kevin Durant involved himself in a situation on the court Thursday
The bodyguard, believed to be the person wearing all black, ran on to the court during a fight
The bodyguard was seen shoving Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker, escalating tension
As multiple players were seen getting involved and trying to calm the situation, a man in a black shirt – ostensibly a security guard – appears on the scene and even appears to shove Tucker.
Typically, security wouldn’t get involved in a situation on the court involving players without a further escalation.
The push, meanwhile, did seem to escalate the situation, as Tucker turned to face the security guard before referees intervened.
Other security then steps on to the court and breaks the sides up to defuse the confrontation.
As the situation escalated, Durant could be seen standing away on the sidelines.
While it’s not entirely clear in the video, Defector does note that the man in all-black is the person in question.
He is Durant’s personal bodyguard, according to a report from The Athletic. While he hasn’t been identified by name, he is on the payroll of the Nets.
It’s not clear why the bodyguard decided to run on to the court in that moment and it’s not clear if he will face any discipline, either from the team or the NBA.
Kevin Durant and P.J. Tucker were in each other’s face after a controversial foul call
But the shove from the bodyguard served to further upset Tucker before others intervened
As the situation escalated, Durant could be seen standing away from it all on the sidelines
The Milwaukee Bucks ultimately won Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, 86-83, cutting the Best-of-7 series deficit to 2-1.
Game 4 of the series is set to take place in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.
This year’s NBA playoffs has been marred by ugly incidents involving fans and players.
A 21-year-old Boston Celtics was accused of throwing a water bottle at Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and was arrested, pleading not guilty to a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
The two sides will resume their postseason series on Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee
He could face a permanent ban after he was seen throwing an empty, plastic water bottle at Irving.
Last month, a man had to be tackled to the ground by security after running on to the court during a Washington Wizards – Philadelphia 76ers playoff game.
Video of the incident posted to Twitter shows a man in a yellow shirt jumping towards one of the hoops as if he is going to make a dunk, when a security guard grabs his legs and tackles him to the ground.
The court invader was soon escorted off the court and into the tunnel as fans booed at him.
Additionally, the Hawks’ Trae Young was spat on at Madison Square Garden and 76ers player Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him.
Brooklyn Nets’ Bruce Brown tries to break up Kevin Durant and Milwaukee Bucks’ P.J. Tucker during the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball semifinals game
The NBA released a statement warning that an enhanced fan code of conduct ‘will be vigorously enforced in order t ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.’
‘The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs,’ the statement reads, ‘but it is crucial that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans.’
The National Basketball Players Association also said in a statement: ‘True fans of this game honor and respect the dignity of our players.’
‘No true fan would seek to harm them or violate their personal space,’ it says. ‘Those who do have no lace in our arenas. And their conduct is appropriately evaluated by law enforcement just as if it occurred on a public street.’