Hecklers are something we will never understand. Why a fan would pay hard-earned money for a great seat just so he or she could berate opposing players and act as a wild malcontent is absolutely beyond us. Is it really that fun to act like an a**hole?
For 79 year-old Bruce Reznick, a Brooklyn/New Jersey Nets season ticket holder for the past 18 years, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Known around Barclays Center as “Mr. Whammy,” he leaves his seat in the lower bowl while the opposition shoots free throws and stands behind the basket stanchion yelling ““You gotta miss, whatever your name is.”
Early in the first quarter of Friday night’s game between the Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers, Reznick was asked by NBA and arena officials to return to his seat – which doesn’t seem like such an outlandish request. The Canarsie based lawyer isn’t entitled to a non-existent seat just below the basket, after all.
But the diminutive superfan said that James and the Cavs had security move him from his perch a couple feet behind the basket stanchion after James missed a free throw with 10:06 left in the first quarter as he tried to complete a three-point play.
At first Reznick said he was told by NBA security to move. Then he was told by Barclays’ security to move. Finally, Mr. Whammy was asked by Nets CEO Brett Yormark to move away midway through the second quarter, he said.
“He said, ‘Do me a favor, please move back so that NBA security doesn’t throw you out,’ ” Reznick said at the half. “LeBron is a crybaby. I know it was him that asked the security to make me move. He doesn’t like that I make him miss. He thinks he’s more powerful than anyone in the NBA.”
Cavaliers officials and James himself refused comment on the situation after the game, and rightfully so. Hecklers like Reznick shouldn’t be afforded the attention we and other media outlets must give him, and any player or team has the right to request a fan’s return to his or her seat.
There’s a fine line between cheering and heckling, and it’s one that a select group of fans love crossing. It bears mentioning that Reznick’s quip was harmless – he wasn’t attacking James or any other player personally, and didn’t even use profanity. But his brand of jeering seems like something the league shouldn’t tolerate in 2015, irrespective of his age or tenure. That’s wishful thinking, of course, though the type LeBron – or another member of Cleveland – surely shares.
The Nets beat the Cavs 106-98, by the way, and James couldn’t bring his team back from a deficit down the stretch despite a typically stellar all-around performance. The four-time MVP had 24 points, nine assists, and five steals on 8-of-15 shooting and 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
Instead of discussing Reznick’s antics, we should be lauding Brooklyn for beating one of the league’s hottest teams in the thick of a heated playoff race – Lionel Hollins’ team is just a half game out of eighth-place in the Eastern Conference.
But hecklers like Mr. Whammy love the spotlight more than they do the team for which they “root,” so here we are. Let’s never come back.