Atlanta fans ejected after argument with LeBron James
A group of courtside fans were ejected from a Monday evening game in Atlanta between the Hawks and the Los Angeles Lakers following a verbal altercation with NBA star LeBron James.
According to a video later posted to Instagram, Juliana Carlos and her husband, Chris Carlos, exchanged words with James, who plays for the Lakers, with just more than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’s 107-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena.
Juliana Carlos said in her video following the encounter that she had been “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— about LeBron,” she continued in the video.
Juliana Carlos added, “All of the sudden, LeBron says something to my husband, and I see this and I stand up. And I go, ‘Don’t f—ing talk to my husband.’ And he looks at me and he goes, ‘Sit the f— down, bitch.’ And I go, ‘Don’t f—ing call me a bitch. You sit the f— down. Get the f— out of here. Don’t f—ing talk to my husband like that.'”
“Excuse me, I have courtside seats that I pay for. F— you, LeBron,” she continued. “You’re going to let a 25-year-old girl intimidate you during a game?”
Video coverage of the game showed part of the incident, in which Juliana Carlos appears to pull down her face mask as she stands up and approaches James. While NBA players are not required to wear masks while playing, fans attending games must wear facial coverings.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the altercation “certainly exposed something with regard to having fans in the pandemic,” according to ESPN.
“You obviously can’t have fans taking their masks down and shouting at our players with the virus out there during these times,” Vogel added.
Video from Monday evening then appeared to show security personnel and one of the referees, Mitchell Ervin, walking toward the fans. The Hawks later confirmed to ESPN that four courtside fans were ejected from the game.
In a postgame interview, James said he believed “the referees did what they had to do,” but that he did not think “it was warranted to be kicked out.”
“At the end of the day, I’m happy fans are back in the building,” James said, according to The Washington Post. “I miss that interaction. I need that interaction. We, as players, need that interaction.”
James later took to Twitter to further respond to the incident, writing, “Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!”
Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 2, 2021
The Hawks and a handful of additional NBA teams are allowing limited attendance at games amid the pandemic, with the Hawks announcing on Jan. 26 that the team would open its arena to 1,300 season ticket holders, or about 8 percent of capacity.
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