Before Game 6 of Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans started, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker noticed some red ‘F*** Jae Crowder’ T-shirts among the early-arriving fans.
When they stuffed the pile of shirts under their seats and went back out into the concourse, Book says “I sent J Jack on a mission.”
Jack came back with two of the shirts and Booker immediately ran to the locker room to give one to Jae Crowder.
Little did they know that the slogan, if you can call it that, would inspire a rallying chant so loud that you could hear ‘F*** Jae Crowder’ through the TNT broadcast. My family and I were astonished we could make out every word so clearly despite the muffling inherent with TV broadcasts.
Sitting on the couch at home, we thought it was disrespectful to uniformly chant such foul language at a particular player. Crowder himself laughed it off, but he was worried about the impact to someone else.
“[My daughter] definitely heard it,” Jae Crowder said later, of his 8-year old daughter who was at the game. “I had to explain to her it’s all fun and games, it’s all competition.”
“I had to play mind games with her,” he said. Then he added with a chuckle, “They really love your daddy.”
Devin Booker, wearing his shirt proudly in postgame interviews, turned it fully around on the Pelicans fans.
“It’s really a beautiful thing man,” Booker said. “It’s respect at its highest level. Having 15-20 thousand people chant your name, that’s pretty impressive. Good for Jae. People that didn’t know his name when they went to the game know it now.”
That’s for sure.
Crowder developed his love/hate relationship with Pelicans fans over the weekend games in NOLA by being physical and getting into Pelicans’ faces after hard fouls by both teams. He’s a real love him or hate him guy. When he’s on your team, you love him. Everyone else can have their own opinions.
“I’ve embraced it,” Crowder says.
In an off-day interview before Game 6, he admitted he stopped walking the streets of New Orleans with his daughter because there’s too many aggressive fans verbally attacking him despite the eight-year old at his side.
But the chant did not work in the fans’ favor in the way they’d hoped. It worked as well as ‘Refs you suck’, meaning it had no effect at all.
The Suns outscored the Pelicans 67-51 in the second half to close out the series on their court.
“I’m glad I can put this shirt on with a smile right now,” Crowder said.
LMAO Jae is selling F*** Jae Crowder shirts on his website now. pic.twitter.com/3eVW4txOpp— Mike Vigil (@protectedpick) April 29, 2022
And these ones are SIGNED by the man himself.
The Suns move on to the Conference Semi-Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, while the Pelicans can look forward to next season.
Weird chant aside, the Suns had nothing but praise for the Pelicans as a team, an organization and a fanbase. Chris Paul said there’s nothing like playing in New Orleans, and Crowder himself said the fans’ overall energy helped raise the Pelicans level of play.
See you next year, New Orleans.