Sunday, June 17, 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

Tarpons’ Castillo, North squad notch FSL All-Star Game victory

TAMPA — The Tarpons' Diego Castillo led the North squad to a 5-0 victory in the 57th Florida State League All-Star Game on his home field Saturday night.The game MVP went 2-for-4 with two doubles and started the scoring for the North in the sec...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Updated: 8 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18