An emotional fan sitting courtside at Thursday's 76ers season opener told Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook exactly how he feels about him - by flipping him the bird - now we know why.
Dr. Richard Harkaway, a Philadelphia urologist who is originally from Long Island, wrote that it was Westbrook who initiated the confrontation, which ended with Harkaway being tossed from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia during the 76ers' season-opening loss.
"To all my FB friends who are seeing a picture of me on the internet giving the finger to Russell Westbrook. Actually two fingers," Harkaway wrote in a private post. "Not as simple as it seems. I love to scream at the players and anyone who has been to a game with me knows this. Part of my charm. What you may not have seen on any of the video clips is what started the whole thing, which was Russell Westbrook saying 'sit down f - ing fat boy' when I stood up to boo."
Video of the aftermath of the play shows Westbrook yelling after he drove to the basket to score. Westbrook appears to curse. Harkaway, wearing an Allen Iverson jersey, then stood up in his second-row seat and screamed at Westbrook while the Thunder star stared at him.
"I am sometimes sensitive about my plumpness," said Harkaway, who also dabbles in stand-up comedy. "I guess I got a little out of hand."
Westbrook didn't respond and then asked the referee if the fan was allowed to do that.
"Uh, yeah, I know, that's crazy, right?" Westbrook said after the game. "I turned a new leaf, though. I leave that alone, because that cost me $25,000 last time. The fan, he'll be all right. They can say whatever they want to the players and do what they want, but my job is to play basketball, and that's what I do."
Teammate Steven Adams got to Westbrook quickly and made a remark to Harkaway.
"I didn't say much, bro," Adams said. "You just don't do that. It's just a respect thing, mate. We're playing. You can't just come in there real hard and think you're tough because we can't touch you. You don't do any of that stuff. I didn't want [Westbrook] to get out of his game, so I just told him to calm down."
It worked. Westbrook remained in the game and went on to score 32 points in a 103-97 victory.
"Obviously, well done," Adams said. "He didn't punch anyone."