With fans back in the stands during the NBA playoffs, you knew the antics would soon follow.

Near the end of the Sixers’ Game 2 win over the Washington Wizards, Wizards star Russel Westbrook left the court with an ankle injury. As he hobbled to the locker room, an unruly Sixers fans dumped popcorn don his head, angering the NBA star to the point where he needed to be held back.

The fan, who was seated in Section 104, was ejected from the game in what Valerie Camillo of the Wells Fargo Center described as “classless, unacceptable behavior.”

During NBC Sports Philadelphia’s broadcast, longtime play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff wasted no time calling out the fan’s actions and defending Westbrook’s angry response.

“Fans, come out and cheer, come out and boo, yell all your want. We encourage that. This is just plain stupidity,” Zumoff said.

Over on NBC Sports Washington, there was an equal amount of anger over the incident. But predictably, broadcasters Justin Kutcher and Drew Gooden immediately lumped all Philadelphia sports fans under the umbrella of one man’s actions.

» READ MORE: Denial isn’t a solution for Philly sports fans after the Russell Westbrook popcorn incident | David Murphy

“They throw batteries and snowballs at Santa Claus,” Kutcher said, becoming the latest broadcaster to resurrect an incident that happened more than 50 years ago to describe current fans.

In a 2013 piece, longtime Daily News sports columnist Stan Hochman went off on the infamous legend that has tarred Eagles fans for more than a generation:

You know the threadbare story. Something nasty happens at a game in Philly, and the out-of-town journalists shrug and sneer and say they’re not surprised, because these are the same fans who pelted Santa Claus with snowballs.
Never mind that it’s more than 44 years later. Never mind that Olivo didn’t think it was a big deal at the time. Never mind that the team stank and the coach was inept and the naïve owner was frantically treading water to stay afloat financially.

TNT analyst and former Sixers star Charles Barkley also had thoughts on the popcorn incident, and suggested the NBA install a new rule to allow players to seek a bit of justice against unruly fans.

» READ MORE: Frank Olivo, 66, substitute Santa hit with snowballs at Eagles game

“I think you should be able to go up in the stands and beat the hell out of one person per game,” Barkley joked on The NBA on TNT Wednesday night, adding that the Sixers should “ban him for life.”

Westbrook and Philadelphia have a bit of bad blood. In 2016, while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, local doctor Richard Harkaway went viral after flipping off Westbrook with both hands.

“Yes, I had problems here before,” Westbrook said following the game Thursday night. “I don’t mind the trash talk, whether it is ‘Westbrook sucks, Westbrook can’t shoot, Westbrook can’t play,’ that is all great. If you cross the line and start mentioning family, start mentioning derogatory things and if you throw popcorn on me, s — t, that is crossing the line, that is where it has to stop.”

» READ MORE: Russell Westbrook sounds off after popcorn incident in loss to Sixers: ‘I am tired of the same thing’

Big Daddy Graham sees his first game in two years

In a more upbeat moment, former WIP host Big Daddy Graham was made it out to see the Sixers win, his first time at the Wells Fargo Center in more than two years.

“My heart is bursting at all the love for my dad,” WIP’s Ava Graham wrote on Twitter following the game, sharing a picture of her father alongside NBC 10 sports anchor John Clark.

Graham (real name Edward Gudonis) was paralyzed from the waist down in 2019 by a spinal cord injury. While he no longer hosts his overnight show on WIP, the longtime Philadelphia radio host has been keeping himself busy with a podcast called “Big Daddy Graham’s Countdown,” where the topics run the gamut from music to sports to comedy.

“It’s something I just have to do. I miss it too much not to,” Graham told the Inquirer in 2019. “Plus, believe me. I got a lot to say.”

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