The sixth bullet point in the NBA Fan Code of Conduct reads: “Guests will not engage in fighting, throwing objects or attempting to enter the court, and those who engage in any of these actions will immediately be ejected from the game.”
Wizards fan Will Smith of Oakton, home after his freshman year of college and watching Game 3 from floor seats with three of his buddies from high school, was not thinking about the NBA Fan Code of Conduct when Paul Pierce banked in a game-winning shot at the buzzer on Saturday at Verizon Center.
“The shot went in and I don’t know, I just kind off took off from there,” said the 19-year-old, who ditched his buddies and made a beeline for the swarm of Wizards players celebrating around Pierce, who lay with his arms outstretched on the court. (That’s Smith in the red Bradley Beal jersey in the above photo.)
“I hit [Pierce] in the chest three times,” said Smith, who found an opening in the huddle of players by Pierce’s head. “I forget what I was saying, probably just, ‘Let’s go, baby!’ or something. It didn’t hit me until later what I’d done.”
Smith said he “came to his senses” after he was pushed by a photographer and an ESPN cameraman. Smith was featured prominently in “SportsCenter” highlights of the aftermath of Pierce’s shot.
“He was [ticked off] and he had a right to be,” Smith said of the photographer who shoved him aside. “I didn’t know what to say. It was definitely a heart over head experience.”
Smith was part of the Wizards’ celebration — clapping and yelling things he can’t remember — for a good 10 seconds before a security guard approached him and directed him back to his seat.
Smith’s friends remained by their seats as NBA Fan Code of Conduct-abiding patrons should.
“It was probably the most bold thing I’ve ever done,” said Smith, who received several texts from friends and his uncle, who saw him on TV. “We were laughing about it the whole drive home.”
In recalling the moment three days later, Smith said he understands he shouldn’t have run on the court, and he wasn’t looking for any recognition in doing so. He can’t remember — or simply couldn’t hear — what Wizards players were saying to Pierce after his shot.
“He was in straight-up G-mode — The Truth mode,” Smith said of Pierce.
Would Smith run on the court if he had the opportunity to experience Pierce’s game-winner again?
“After seeing the replay so many times, probably not,” he said. “Blame it on my heart, not my head.”
Thanks to @adammcginnis.