Fans misbehaving at sports events is certainly no new phenomenon.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported that the fan involved in an altercation with Jusuf Nurkic, which led to a player receiving a $40,000 fine, had heckled that his mom was “trash” and also called his grandmother a “b****!”.

A new study by has found that more than a third of fans admitted to swearing at other fans or players at games and dug into who the worst behaved fanbases are.

How Badly Are NBA Fans Behaving?

The 2000 NBA fans were first asked who had experienced physical aggression, throwing objects, profanities, and spitting, and then followed up by who had carried out such acts.

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The findings show how prevalent physical aggression with half of all fans reporting that they had witnessed such acts, and almost half have seen objects being thrown at games.

Perhaps most shocking is that 35% of fans have experienced fans SPITTING at games, and a further 32% have admitted doing so!

Which Teams Admit to the Worst Behavior?

Only one team’s fans rank top three positions in each of the four bad behavior traits – the LA Clippers.

They scooped first place for physical aggression (43%) and swearing (65%), second place for spitting (48%), and third for throwing objects (59%).

The Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks fans also both ranked twice in the top three positions.

The Nuggets were first for throwing objectives and third for spitting, whereas the Hawks came in second place for the same traits.

Team FanPhysical aggressionThrowing objectsSwearingSpitting
Atlanta Hawks21%60%55%43%
Boston Celtics17%56%42%34%
Brooklyn Nets36%50%32%36%
Charlotte Hornets20%59%43%53%
Chicago Bulls23%43%31%30%
Cleveland Cavaliers16%44%47%25%
Dallas Mavericks28%36%48%36%
Denver Nuggets35%68%40%48%
Detroit Pistons14%36%27%30%
Golden State Warriors11%23%21%28%
Houston Rockets21%24%31%17%
Indiana Pacers12%21%29%21%
Los Angeles Clippers43%59%65%48%
Los Angeles Lakers17%28%24%24%
Memphis Grizzlies28%34%38%25%
Miami Heat27%33%36%33%
Milwaukee Bucks11%24%18%24%
Minnesota Timberwolves17%31%21%21%
New Orleans Pelicans19%31%40%21%
New York Knicks31%41%41%29%
Oklahoma City Thunder14%34%43%14%
Orlando Magic17%26%21%26%
Philadelphia 76ers3%20%23%15%
Phoenix Suns20%43%53%43%
Portland Trail Blazers29%42%40%36%
Sacramento Kings39%55%34%45%
San Antonio Spurs27%43%27%47%
Toronto Raptors21%56%28%44%
Utah Jazz7%48%27%20%
Washington Wizards10%20%17%24%

Who Was Voted to Have the Most Vulgar and Trashiest Fanbase?

When asked which fans display the most vulgar/disruptive behavior at basketball games – fans voted Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and Brooklyn Nets as the top teams with the worst fanbase.

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The Boston Celtics boast one of the most successful franchises in the NBA with 17 championships, but their fanbase has also been voted as one of the worst.

The Charlotte Hornets and Cavaliers came in fourth and fifth positions.

In fact, seven teams voted themselves the trashiest – Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Bucks, Timberwolves, and 76ers all voted for themselves!

Do Fans Want Harsher Punishments?

Over a third of fans feel that the current punishments for spectators that swear, spit, hit, or are deliberately vulgar at/to players are not harsh enough. Current punishments include being removed or banned from games, such as the Philadelphia 76ers fan who was ejected and banned after using racial slurs.

Interestingly, the Indiana Pacers led all fans polled in asking for stricter and harsher punishments for bad behavior.

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Despite ranking highly for bad fan behavior, the Atlanta Hawks were also at the top of the list of those seeking harsher punishments for bad fans. Perhaps their conscience is finally getting the better of them?

Whether it is that fans are being more unruly or incidents are being more widely reported, these unpleasant and disruptive behaviors from fans can have real consequences for both players and fans alike.


In January 2022, sport betting experts surveyed 2,000 NBA fans on their behaviors and attitudes at NBA games.

There were at least 50 fans from each NBA team to ensure even representation.

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