This is one way to pick up followers.
Hecklers with courtside seats at Monday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks prompted officials to halt play with a less-than-cordial back-and-forth with LeBron James.
The incident occurred in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 107-99 road win. After stopping the game, officials huddled near the sideline seats where fans are allowed to sit at State Farm Arena during the COVID-19 pandemic. They called security over, but didn’t initially appear to eject the fans.
Refs stop the game after a Hawks fan heckles LeBron pic.twitter.com/NsoFjyel97
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 2, 2021
Another broadcast angle showed an angry woman with her mask hanging off her chin yelling and pointing in James’ direction.
‘This has to be a joke’
Courtside video that appears to be provided by one of the women who got ejected includes audio of a woman pleading her case with security.
“This has to be a joke,” a woman pleas. “You guys, he was being an a**hole, and they’re blaming these guys. That’s a joke.”
The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner confirmed that the featured heckler along with three others in her party were indeed ejected. Kirschner also reports that one of them left her seat with middle fingers blazing.
Two women and two men have been escorted off the court. One of the women left with middle fingers up toward the court. https://t.co/qlQGlsYIBm
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) February 2, 2021
Video appears to confirm that she indeed unleashed a middle-finger salute on her way out.
— diego (@juandsoperanez) February 2, 2021
Heckler takes beef to social media
The ejectee — whose social media is filled with glamorous photos taken in exotic locations — then took to Instagram for an expletive-laden rant with claims about James exchanging words with her husband before she threatened to “f***” James up. It was all part of a lengthy Instagram story showing the apparent social media influencer preening before, during and after the game before unleashing the verbal tirade aimed at James.
None of it is anywhere close to fit for publication on this site, but some can be seen here if you’re curious.
James, who posted 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the win, took a slightly more dignified approach after the game.
LeBron: ‘Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!’
James took to Twitter after the game and joined the thousands of other users who gave the ejectee an all-too common nickname.
Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 2, 2021
Prior to his tweet, James addressed the incident with reporters. He seemed a tad less upset than our prospective social media star.
"At the end of the day, I'm happy fans are back in the building. ... I miss that interaction. ... We as players need that interaction."
LeBron on his interaction with spectators in Atlanta on Monday: pic.twitter.com/spWDITZqkl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 2, 2021
“At the end of the day, I'm happy fans are back in the building,” James said. “I miss that interaction. I need that interaction. We as players need that interaction.”
James also said that he didn’t think the fans should have been kicked out and that he wasn’t worried for his own health after the woman dropped her mask — but maybe for those around her.
“There was a back-and-forth between two grown men,” James continued. “We said our piece. He said his piece, I said my piece. Then someone else jumped into it and said their piece.
“I didn’t think they should have been kicked out. But they might have had a couple of drinks, maybe. ... The referees did what they had to do.”
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