Courtside clash! Four fans were ejected from the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks game on Monday, February 1, after exchanging words with LeBron James.
NBA referees paused the game during the fourth quarter as a woman later identified as Juliana Carlos repeatedly heckled James, 36, from the sidelines with her husband, Chris Carlos. At one point during the argument, Juliana pulled her protective face mask down below her chin amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the game, James tweeted, “Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!” with seven crying-laughing emojis.
Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!! ???????
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 2, 2021
Juliana, who was seen holding up both of her middle fingers as she was escorted away from the court, also took to social media to address the incident.
“So, I’m minding my own business, and Chris has been a Hawks fan forever. He’s been watching the games for 10 years. Whatever, he has this issue with LeBron. I don’t have an issue with LeBron. I don’t give a f–k about LeBron,” she said in a series of since-deleted videos on her Instagram Stories. “Anyway, I’m minding my own business, drinking my [beverage], having fun. All of the sudden, LeBron says something to my husband, and I see this and I stand up. And I go, ‘Don’t f–king talk to my husband.’”
She then alleged, “[LeBron] looks at me and he goes, ‘Sit the f–k down, bitch.’ And I go, ‘Don’t f–king call me a bitch. You sit the f–k down. Get the f–k out of here. Don’t f–king talk to my husband like that.’”
The back-and-forth did not affect James’ gameplay, however. After security guards intervened and asked the couple and two others to leave, the Lakers defeated the Hawks 107-99.
James told reporters after the game that he was not fazed by the tense moment at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, which has started to allow some fans to attend NBA games again amid the coronavirus crisis.
“At the end of the day, I’m happy fans are back in the building,” the forward said. “I miss that interaction. I need that interaction. We, as players, need that interaction.”
James went on to say that he did not think “it was warranted [for Juliana and Chris] to be kicked out,” though he believed alcohol may have been a factor.
“They might have had a couple drinks, maybe,” he told the press. “I think the referees did what they had to do.”
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