Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith gave the family of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant complimentary tickets, a car service, and lodging in Salt Lake City for Wednesday’s Game 5 of the two teams’ first-round playoff series, ESPN reported Monday.
The amends come after the Morant family was subjected to racist and explicit language by Jazz fans last week.
Three fans were ejected from Game 2 and later banned from Vivint Arena for separate incidents of harassment, which included one fan cursing out Morant’s mother and another who made a sexually explicit remark toward her.
“It was a nice gesture from the Jazz,” Ja Morant’s father, Tee Morant, told ESPN. “It was unfortunate. It was just a few fans – most of them were great and cheering right alongside with us.”
The incident was among the first in a string of high-profile altercations and instances of fans harassing NBA players this postseason.
A New York Knicks fan was banned from Madison Square Garden for spitting on Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young. A Philadelphia 76ers fan was banned from Wells Fargo Center for dumping popcorn on Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook.
Then, this week, a Boston Celtics fan was banned from TD Garden and charged with assault for throwing a water bottle toward Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s head. (READ: Irving blasts ‘human zoo’ environment at arenas after fan throws bottle)
A Wizards fan could also face charges along with an arena ban for running onto the court during the Washington’s home game against the 76ers in Game 4 Monday.
It also wasn’t the first time Jazz fans were in the center of controversy. A Utah fan received a lifetime ban from the arena in 2019 for allegedly shouting racist verbal abuse at Westbrook. – Rappler.com