- LeBron James had an altercation with two Atlanta Hawks fans at Monday night’s game in Atlanta.
- The fans who heckled him – dubbed “Courtside Karen” and “Old Steroid Arse” – were ejected from the arena.
- After the game, James said he didn’t think “it was warranted to be kicked out” and that he’s “happy fans are back in the building” because players “need that interaction.”
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LeBron James jawed off with two fans at Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, but that hasn’t changed The King’s stance on welcoming fans back into the fold.
The couple was ejected from State Farm Arena after heckling the Lakers superstar and cursing him out from their seats on the baseline. Following her home team’s loss to Los Angeles, the woman â€” who was later identified as Juliana Carlos â€” took to Instagram to taunt James.
Refs stop the game after a Hawks fan heckles LeBron pic.twitter.com/NsoFjyel97
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 2, 2021
Carlos subsequently garnered immense notoreity on social media, and James even gave her the nickname “Courtside Karen” after dubbing her husband “Old Steroid Arse” during the game. Still, the four-time NBA champion still didn’t believe his mid-game feud with the pair warranted their removal.
“There was a back and forth between two grown men, and we said our piece,” James said. “He said his piece, I said my piece, and then somebody else jumped into it and said their piece.”
“But I didn’t think they should have been kicked out,” he added.
James was seemingly unperturbed by the squabble in real time. He finished the game with a formidable 21 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists to lead Los Angeles to a 107-99 victory.
He has been a vocal proponent of bringing spectators back to NBA arenas for the 2020-2021 season, and that stance didn’t change following Monday night’s heated exchange. Though he acknowledges that safety should be a priority during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, James said having “fans in the stands is just â€” it’s just better.”
“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.”
“I love our fans â€” Laker Nation and everybody else that’s against Laker Nation,” he added. “It just feels better… It’s better for everybody. Especially on the last game of a 14-day road trip.”
Following the win, the Lakers head back to Los Angeles for a five-game home stand. Fans have not been permitted to attend games at the Staples Centre this season.