You might think that NBA fans who are back in the arenas would appreciate the fact they are back, but that’s not always the case.
Many NBA teams are allowing small numbers of fans to see some games in person and enjoy the environment of the arena, but some are acting out, especially one that grabbed a ton of attention recently.
LeBron James vs. Courtside Karen
This early in the NBA season is too soon for us to talk about much in the way of drama, but one fan found a way to give us an incident that ended up in sports news right away. During a game in Atlanta featuring the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Atlanta Hawks, one fan began to heckle LeBron James which ended in a bit of drama and an ejection.
The altercation began with one man and LeBron going back and forth with words, but soon the wife of the man stepped in and started to have her say. After standing up, shouting at the NBA superstar while her mask was lowered to below her chin, the refs got together and called security to the incident. The couple and another couple with them were promptly ejected from the arena. They did see most of the game because the game was in the fourth quarter already.
LeBron Gives a Nickname
NBA fans have been known to heckle and shout things at players, some from courtside seats and others from higher up in the arena. Basketball is a sport where the fans are right on top of the playing surface. We’ve seen videos of the “Malice in the Palace” where the Detroit Pistons players were fighting with fans and the Indiana Pacers. This incident took place before the NBA put several rules in to keep a bit of distance between players and fans.
After the incident that took place between LeBron James and the woman sitting courtside, he gave her the nickname of “Courtside Karen” when he took to Twitter after the game. During his postgame interview, LeBron took the high road and let us know he needed the fans to be there and appreciated the back and forth with the woman’s husband. He went so far as to say that he didn’t think they should have been ejected from the arena.
Fan Interaction Isn’t Unusual
Fans have been sitting courtside for many years. Often, these seats are taking up by local celebrities that are seen and enjoy the games. One of the most famous NBA fans is Spike Lee who attends the New York Knicks games with regularity. It’s easy to find the videos of Lee during a game giving the business to Indiana Pacers Hall of Fame player Reggie Miller during a famous game.
As Spike got under Reggie’s skin, Miller decided to show up and show out by scoring 25 points in the fourth quarter of the 1994 playoffs. Not only did Miller score these points and lead his team to victory, but he also taunted Spike Lee after every shot. This is the type of interaction that fans and players have appreciated for a long time, but it seems the woman in Atlanta didn’t quite understand the protocol.
The Limited Number of NBA Fans Makes a Difference
Most of the time, the NBA fans and players don’t have much interaction during a game, unless a player dives into the crowd after a loose ball or happens to get pushed into the first couple of rows of seats. With limited capacity at arenas right now, it’s much easier for players and referees to hear everything that’s being said by fans to the players. This may have led to the altercation but it seems if the trash talk has been limited to LeBron and the man in the front row, there might not have been any ejections from the arena.
The Heckler Took to Social Media
As you would expect, the woman who became the story of the day in sports, took to social media to complain about the ejection and the actions of LeBron James. This isn’t anything new for LeBron and he simply took the high road. The social media feed of the woman is filled with photos of her in various exotic locations and now with an expletive-filled rant after an NBA game. Whether or not she will return to the arena and watch the Hawks play again is yet to be seen, but she certainly provided us a bit of drama in an otherwise mundane NBA season so far.