NBA

Haliburton says younger brother was racially abused at Game 1 of Pacers-Bucks series

By Sports Desk April 24, 2024

Tyrese Haliburton says a fan directed a racial slur at his younger brother while he was in attendance for Game 1 of the Indiana Pacers' playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum.

The Pacers guard made the claim during his post-game news conference after Indiana returned to Milwaukee for Game 2 on Tuesday, levelling up the series with a 125-108 win.

Haliburton, who was born in Wisconsin, has made his first two playoff appearances in his home state, with the Pacers dropping the first contest by a 109-94 scoreline on Sunday.

After they bounced back with Tuesday's win, in which Haliburton had 12 points and 12 assists, he addressed the incident upon being asked about his experience of returning to Wisconsin. 

"My little brother in the stands the other day was called the N-word," Haliburton said. "It was important for us as a family to just address that. 

"That was important for us to talk about because that just didn't sit right with anybody in our family. 

"It's just been important to have my family here right now. My little brother has handled that the right way."

He then added: "The team did a good job of handling this environment. The conversation… it's friendly during the regular season because I'm the hometown kid, but it's a little different when you're visiting in this environment."

The Bucks were asked about the incident after Tuesday's game, with a team spokesperson saying the accused individual denied the accusation. 

"An arena guest services representative reported that during Sunday's game a few guests were not sitting in their correct seats," a Bucks spokesperson said.

"The guest services representative asked the group to move one section over to their correct seats. Then, one of the individuals in the group claimed to the representative that a person sitting in front of him had used a derogatory term toward him. 

"The accused person denied the accusation. The group moved to their correct seats and no further incident was reported. We take our fan environment extremely seriously and are committed to providing a safe and secure experience."

Pascal Siakam was the star of Game 2 as his 37-point haul helped the Pacers overcome another fast start from Bucks guard Damian Lillard, who had 26 first-half points in the absence of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"We've got to be the hungry team," Siakam said after the game. "We've got to be the team that's coming in and wanting to show something. 

"That's the attitude that we’ve got to have against those guys, because they've done it before."

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