Saturday, May 26, 2018
Sports

Courtside NBA seats: Sit at your own risk

The basketball court is a confined space, measuring 94 feet by 50 feet, but the ball does not always obey these restrictions. It can fly into the stands, and there are moments when players must make an all-important, split-second decision: Try to leapfrog a row of fans sitting courtside or, as the New York Knicks' Lance Thomas put it, "hit the brakes."

Said Thomas: "We're large individuals. It's not always easy to stop all that momentum."

That much was apparent last week, when, while chasing after a loose ball, LeBron James injured professional golfer Jason Day's wife, Ellie, who was sitting courtside Thursday at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena with her husband.

"I think every NBA player has had close calls like that," the Knicks' Derrick Williams said. "With LeBron being his size and landing on that lady, it's tough. Being 260 pounds and running full speed, he's going to land on somebody."

In no other major sport do fans sit closer to the area of play, and without any barriers between themselves and the athletes. The spectator experience, at least for those fortunate enough to sit courtside, is enhanced by that rare type of intimacy.

Most fans seem willing to accept any minor risks in lieu of sitting behind signage or covering themselves in Bubble Wrap.

The collision involving James came at a time when baseball is dealing with the danger of foul balls and potentially costly lawsuits that can result from them.

Basketball fans, Williams said, want to sit courtside, and they pay lavish amounts for the privilege. But on rare occasions, they get a little too close to the action.

Late in the Cavaliers' victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder, James went after a loose ball and barreled into Ellie Day. She tumbled backward as the 6-foot-8 James landed on her.

James returned to the court but then called for a timeout when the Cavaliers regained possession. Medical personnel quickly tended to Day, who was strapped to a stretcher and transported to a nearby hospital. She was later released with what Bud Martin, who is Jason Day's agent, described to the Associated Press as concussion-like symptoms.

Jason Day retweeted on Friday a message from his wife on his verified Twitter account in which she compared being run over by James to being in a "minor car accident."

She added, "My whole body feels like it was hit by a truck."

She also defended James, saying he was simply moving too fast to avoid her. In other words, accidents happen.

"Much like attending a golf event and getting hit with a ball, sitting courtside you risk getting run into," Ellie Day wrote, adding, "They're huge men doing their job."

Collisions with spectators are freak occurrences at NBA games. Derek Fisher, the Knicks' coach, said he had largely been able to avoid running into fans during his playing career.

"But I never was moving as fast or as explosive as he was," Fisher said, referring to James.

"As players, guys are trying their hardest to make the right plays."

In 2003, Jason Kidd, then playing for the Nets in New Jersey, broke his 4-year-old son's collarbone when he went after a loose ball and wound up jumping into the stands.

Last season, Mason Plumlee, as a member of the Nets in Brooklyn, bumped into a waitress during a game against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center. The only casualty was a huge tray of beer, the contents of which doused several fans in the vicinity.

— New York Times

Comments
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Interesting decision by the Rays to start RH reliever Ryne Stanek on Saturday. The Orioles' Nos. 1 through 5 hitters were righties, and Stanek came in allowing a 1.228 OPS against righties and a .592 OPS against lefties. It ended up working.How ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 5 hours ago
RAYSREPORT

RAYSREPORT

Today: vs. Orioles1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of gamePromotion: Raymond children’s book for kids 14 ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays Tales: What the trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span leads to next

Rays Tales: What the trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span leads to next

The reality of Friday's surprising trade of Alex Colome and Denard Span to Seattle is, of course, between the extremes.One side is screaming this is the latest proof the Rays are driven more to pocket money than winning games (and, for the loudest, o...
Updated: 7 hours ago

For starters: Rays vs. Orioles; Ryne Stanek makes first start, Carlos Gomez returns

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' bullpenning experiment continues, with right-hander Ryne Stanek to open this afternoon's game against the Orioles at Tropicana Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10.It is the first career start for Stanek, who has ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: Redfish bite strong on afternoon high tide

Early morning stops at jetty rock piles have produced excellent action for a variety of species. Snook, redfish and trout are the targets. Free-lining live pilchards against the rocks at the strong part of the tide is your best opportunity for snook,...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs rookie CBs quickly catching on

Bucs rookie CBs quickly catching on

TAMPA — If the first few days of organized team activities are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up."A lot of interceptions,’’ coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday after practice. "...
Updated: 7 hours ago