Trouble was brewing when Marcus Thornton got doused with beer by a fan while the Celtics draftee was diving for a loose ball in a professional basketball game in Australia.
Thornton was down under the basket when the spectator from Down Under sprayed him with beer.
See video of the third-quarter encounter embedded below that apparently shows the fan in question sitting in the first row continuing to swig from the beer can as if nothing happened.
Security kicked the fan — possibly a season-ticket holder — and a companion out of the venue shortly thereafter, with the man still seemingly still in possession of the can of beer.
According to the play-by-play guys, it was outrageous that the fan with the beard tipped beer on the player’s head. Wasting beer was “a crime on so many fronts,” one of the announcers quipped.
“Instead of just drinking the beer he paid for, one fan decided to share it with Thornton. And by ‘share,’ I mean he poured some on the 22-year-old basketball player’s head while he was down on the court,” the Bleacher Report explained.
Selected by the Boston Celtics with the 45th overall pick (second round) in the 2015 NBA Draft, Thornton is currently playing for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League.
A shooting guard and not to be confused with a different player of the same name who is a member of the Houston Rockets, Thornton is the all-time scoring leader for William & Mary.
The home team Illawara Hawks, who defeated the Kings in the matchup by a score of 96-90, issued a statement about the incident with Marcus Thornton, noting that the NBL has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who might jeopardize the safety of a player.
“Last night a court-side patron at the WIN Entertainment Centre poured the contents of his can on to fallen Sydney King Marcus Thornton. The man was promptly ejected and not permitted to return to the stadium. The NBL places the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of its players. NBL General Manager Jeremy Loeliger is currently in Wollongong and will be reviewing the incident with Illawarra Hawks staff and venue management this morning.”
Thornton scored 18 points in the loss. The 3-9 Kings, who are currently in last place in the eight-team league, have yet to win a road game in the NBL season that began on October 10. The Hawks are in fifth place.
When asked about the beer pouring incident after the game, Thornton remarked that “It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is, and we move on.” He was noncommittal about whether the fan should be either permanently banned or suspended from the stadium, adding that it was up to the league to make that determination.
“Problems with overzealous supporters are rare in the NBL and league officials are certain to have the matter investigated and the man faces a possible life ban or suspension,” the Guardian noted. Both coaches supported the prompt ejection of the fan.
Ex-NBA players Josh Childress and Al Harrington are Thornton’s teammates on the Sydney Kings.
“Why did the guy dump beer on Thornton, and also, why did he think he’d get away with it? He was at a televised basketball game in an arena with a capacity of about 6,000, and also, he was the only person in the vicinity holding a beer,” Deadspin wondered.
In case you’re wondering, the brand of beer that Marcus Thornton got hit with reportedly is Cascade Premium Light, an Australian microbrew lager, MassLive indicated.
[Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images]