Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty LeBron James
Fans sitting courtside at Monday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks were ejected from the State Farm Arena after getting into a verbal altercation with LeBron James.
According to ESPN, Hawks fan Juliana Carlos and her husband, Chris Carlos, traded barbs with James, 36, in the fourth quarter of the game, which the Lakers won over the home team, 107-99.
In a video shared on Twitter by SportsCenter, Juliana can be seen without a mask — a violation of the NBA’s rules for fans attending games in person — shouting from her courtside seat at James, who could be seen seemingly speaking in response. A security staffer then approached Juliana as she sat back in her seat.
ESPN confirmed that Juliana, Chris and two other spectators were then removed from the game.
Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty LeBron James
Juliana addressed the incident in a video posted to her Instagram Story while exiting the building and claimed that she began shouting at James after the NBA star allegedly made comments to her husband first.
“Just got kicked out of the game for talking s–t to LeBron James for talking s–t to my f—ing husband,” Juliana said on her Instagram Story, which was captured by Ballislife.com, among other outlets, and shared to Twitter. “This is such f—ing bulls—t,” she added.
She continued, “Look, let me tell you, LeBron James looked at my husband during the game and cussed him out, and I stood up and I go, ‘Don’t f—ing talk to my husband. Talk to my husband one more time and I will f— you up.’ And then he started fighting with me, he goes, ‘Shout your mouth dumb b—ch.’ And I go, ‘You shout your f—ing mouth b—ch.’ “
When asked about the incident while speaking to reporters after the game, James said he thought ejecting the fans was not necessary.
“At the end of the day, I’m happy fans are back in the building,” said James. “I miss that interaction. I need that interaction; we as players need that interaction. I don’t feel like it was warranted to be kicked out. There was a back-and-forth between two grown men. We said our peace, he said his peace, I said my peace. And then when someone else jumped into it and said their peace, but I didn’t think they should’ve been kicked out.”
He continued, “But they might have had a couple drinks, maybe, and they could’ve probably kept it going and the game wouldn’t have been about the game no more, so I think the referees did what they had to do.”
James later tweeted about Juliana, writing, “Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣.”
“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
Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 2, 2021
According to ESPN, Atlanta’s State Farm Arena currently allows up to 8% of its capacity for Hawks games amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There were just over 1,300 people total in attendance at Monday’s game.
The 2021 NBA season has been shortened to 72 games due to the pandemic, which is 10 games fewer than in a typical, 82-game season. It follows a whirlwind offseason that saw the draft on Nov. 18 and training camps opening on Dec. 1.
The reigning league champion Lakers are currently 16-6, while the Hawks are 10-10.