The word “fan” is derived from the much more negative term “fanatic” — and a recent controversy in the NBA reminded the world of those ugly etymological origins.
On Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls completed a stunning 19-point comeback to beat the Toronto Raptors and eliminate them from the play-in tournament.
The Bulls’ 109-105 win was due in no small part to the fact that Toronto shot 18-for-36 from the free throw line, an absolutely putrid 50 percent clip. For comparison, the two worst free throw-shooting teams this year were the Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies — and they both shot free throws at about a 75 percent rate.
One possible explanation for the Raptors’ free throw-shooting woes? Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan’s 9-year-old daughter, Diar.
The younger DeRozan went viral for screaming her lungs out every time a Raptors player went to the charity stripe.
In the below clip, you can hear Diar’s ear-piercing screams when Raptors guard Fred VanVleet takes a free throw.
It was all in good fun in the moment, with even the ESPN announcers laughing at Diar’s antics. But some Raptors fans, apparently, felt that her actions were beyond the pale and responded by… threatening a 9-year-old girl.
NBA reporter Chris Haynes broke the news on Friday that Bulls security escorted Diar out of the arena after the league notified the team of “severe online threats” made against her.
It’s worth pointing out that teams routinely give entire sections of fans thunder sticks to distract free throw shooters. A 9-year-old screaming should not have any bearing on a team’s performance whatsoever.
As for DeMar, the Bulls forward initially dismissed the nonsense as just that.
“As long as she was there with her father, I wasn’t worried about anything happening,” DeRozan said. “It was just a precautionary measure and I appreciate that.”
Later, however, he did express displeasure at how pathetic some fans can be.
“It’s crazy. It’s the world we live in,” DeRozan told reporters on Friday, according to ESPN. “No matter how good something could be, you still got miserable people that just don’t have a life, honestly. It’s sad. All I care about is my daughter enjoying her moment.”
The NBA playoffs begin in earnest today, though the Bulls won’t be playing after they were eliminated from the play-in tournament by the Miami Heat.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.