LeBron James is speaking out after being heckled by a woman sitting courtside that he called a “Courtside Karen,” who was later ejected from the Lakers and Hawks game along with three others in Atlanta on Monday.
In a viral video posted on Monday by ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” a woman — with her mask pulled down — can be seen in the State Farm Arena exchanging words with the Los Angeles Lakers star while aggressively pointing her finger at him.
Officials later ejected the woman and her husband off the court along with another man and woman, who reportedly flashed her middle finger towards the players as the group was escorted out of the arena, The Athletic reported.
The Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. NBC News was unable to verify the identity of the woman.
In an interview with SportsCenter, the Lakers superstar said he ultimately missed his fans.
“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.”
While many teams in the NBA have banned fans from games, some like the Atlanta Hawks have allowed limited attendance in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions.
James said he didn’t believe that the fans should have been tossed out, despite the woman pulling down her mask to yell at him.
“I don’t think taking down the mask, or whatever the case may be at that point in time, would harm anybody but the people who was right next to her,” James said. “I wasn’t close enough to her, I don’t think my teammates were close enough to them. Maybe a couple of refs, maybe, so I hope they’re OK, but safety first.”
Following the game, James poked fun at the incident in a tweet that quickly went viral.
“Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!” he wrote, referring to the name that has become synonymous with self-entitled women.
According to the Athletic, the Hawks have launched an investigation into the incident.
On Monday evening, James and the Lakers scored the last laugh with a 107-99 win over the Hawks.