Sports at any level takes dedication, hard work, and talent. But when an athlete steps onto their field of play, the first thing they hear is the roar of fans. Whether it be at a varsity high school, college or professional game, the fans create the environment. They are aware of this, too.
From the cheers to the boos, to the signs and the chants, fans fulfill their own desires when it comes to the sport they are watching. Booing when an opponent is shooting free throws or buying tickets to support your home team can change the way a play, a game, or even a season turns out.
One thing about fans is how emotionally transparent they are.
Last night, Tuesday, January 3rd was a perfect example of how fans have such a strong impact on players and the game.
At the TD Garden, The Boston Celtics defeated The Utah Jazz 115-104 at home.
Although Isaiah Thomas made headlines with his career high 15 assists, teammate Jae Crowder sparked conversation once he took to Twitter after the game, expressing his feelings in his typical, seemingly-aggressive online nature: CAPS LOCK.
HOME TEAM FANS CHEERING FOR THE OPPOSING PLAYERS NOW.. AW MAN OK… SMH BUT GOOD WIN FELLAS ONTO THE NEXT ONE.!!
— JAE CROWDER (@CJC9BOSS) January 4, 2017
He was offended from the start of the game when fans cheered for the Jazz forward Gordon Hayward during player introductions. Since Hayward is about to become a free agent once this season finishes, the Celtics could be his next home, with his former college coach Brad Stevens. So that’s exactly what the fans in green tried to do: make Hayward feel welcome, and, at home.
Brad Stevens said he was surprised and a bit disappointed in Jae Crowder’s tweets from last night.
Unfortunately, Crowder “heard the cheering before the game, and I didn’t like that at all. I think that was a sign of disrespect to me from the fans. That sparked a little fire in me. I just felt disrespected.”
For a guy that plays his heart out, it makes sense. Crowder is shooting 43% from beyond the arc, improving by 10% compared to last year. Sure he is emotional, but the emotional athletes are the ones who leave it all on the floor and expect the same from everyone else and respect from fans, especially at home.
The crowd’s reaction that he said “sparked a little“ something in him, was that spark carried onto the floor that led to 21 points on 5/6 shooting from the 3 for Jae Crowder last night, helping Boston advance to 21-14 this season, keeping them seeded third in the East behind Toronto and Cleveland.
He responded to a fan last night who responded to his emotional release on Twitter, which has since been deleted.
All the signs are pointing towards a subliminal request for a trade, and it goes to show you what fans can to do a player.
308 miles north down the I-95 in Philadelphia, the fans were an important part of the game as well to small forward Robert Covington of The Sixers.
He was booed the whole game. The 6’9”, 225-pounder went scoreless in two games, was held to fewer than four points multiple games prior, is just shooting 28.7% on three-pointers. and 35.2% from the floor. He has been struggling and it’s obvious.
This struggle is the reason he has been made a target for Philly fans to direct their frustration towards him.
They hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Wells Fargo Center, and RoCo missed 10 of his first 13 shots. The boos got louder, but he was able to tune it all out and silenced them, which lead to making the biggest play of the night.
Robert Covington nails the game-winning layup as the Sixers beat the Wolves 93-91.https://t.co/e2R6JN7e0J
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) January 4, 2017
When asked about the boos, he said “it’s not dictating my life, it’s not making me frustrated. It’s not causing me to sit up here and second-guess about myself. I tell people all the time, ‘Can’t nobody tell me nothing about me that I don’t already know about myself already,’ what people are saying is not me. I’m
just not making shots right now.
“But people don’t see all the other things that are going on throughout the game.”
And he’s right. He held T-Wolves’ superstar Andrew Wiggins to 2/15 shooting. That was all Robert Covington.
When Molly Sullivan interviewed him about the fan response and Covington responded by saying “these fans can boo all they want, I’m never gonna stop playing no matter what.”
As fans, we need to trust the process. Booing your own players doesn’t help anything, and can hurt their relationship with the franchise.