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RANKING THE WORST BEHAVED FANS IN THE NBA

If you’re a fan of the NBA, it’s no secret that the league has dealt with a number of high-profile incidents of bad behavior this season.

Whether it’s fans yelling at other players, swearing, fighting, or just being too loud, all NBA arenas have seen it, some, more than others. But which fanbases are the most notorious in the league for their unruly behavior?

We surveyed NBA fans across the country to find out which NBA fanbases, coaches and players are the worst behaved.

Coming in at number one for the worst behaved fan base is the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers fans may be the worst behaved, but they’re used to winning, as the team holds the most NBA Finals appearances and is tied for the most championships in league history. The top worst behavior people reported about Lakers fans was yelling at other fans.

From one coast to the other, the New York Knicks took the No. 2 spot on the worst behaved list as their fans are known to use foul language at players, according to respondents. Foul language also landed Boston Celtics fans at No. 3 because of their tendencies to swear at other fans.

Philadelphia 76ers fans come in at number four for most often using foul language at players and Detroit Pistons fans round out the top five for getting into fights or being violent (a la Malice at the Palace with #16 Indiana Pacers).

When it comes to fans that keep their cool, Portland Trail Blazers supporters are among the best behaved fan base. Also known for being on their best behavior are fans of the New Orleans PelicansMemphis GrizzliesWashington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.

WORST BEHAVED NBA PLAYERS AND COACHES

Getting your head in the game is important for all athletes, but sometimes the heat of the moment can carry over past the last play. When it comes to the worst behaved players, it may be no surprise one of the greatest players of all time, LeBron James takes the top spot.

Coming in at number two is James’ teammate, Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is followed by the Nets’ James Harden, Kevin Durant, and 76ers’ Joel Embiid. That means the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are home to four of the top five worst behaved players.

As an NBA all-star and champion, it’s no surprise the Dallas Mavericks’ coach Jason Kidd is passionate about the sport. Kidd ranks #1 among all coaches for being the worst behaved. The Knicks’ leader, Tom Thibodeau, took the number two spot followed by the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, 76ers’ Doc Rivers, and the Lakers’ Frank Vogel.

Overall, more than one-third (37%) of survey respondents say fan behavior has gotten worse since fans returned to arenas this season.

67% say fans should be ejected for using profanity against players and 90% say fans who violate the NBA's “code of conduct” should be banned from attending future games.

However, only 10% say those who violate the code of conduct should be banned from life. A majority (52%) say fans should only be banned for one season.

And when it comes to players behaving badly, 58% say NBA players should be fined for swearing or using profanity against fans during games.

METHODOLOGY

In January 2022, we surveyed 1,104 NBA fans across the country to ask them about fan behavior during NBA games. Respondents were asked to rate which team’s fans behave poorly as well as the worst-behaved coaches and players in the league. Fans ranked head coaches from all 29 NBA teams.

In order to determine the worst behaved players, respondents were given a list of the top 50 players in the NBA with the most fouls during the 2021-2022 NBA season (as of January 20, 2022) via ESPN’s player fouls stat dataset. To qualify, a player must play 70% of his team’s games. 50% of respondents were male, 50% were female and the average age was 38. Note: Orlando Magic fans were not included in the rankings due to insufficient data.

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