Four fans were ejected from Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Monday for shouting profanities at LeBron James, among them a woman whose antics inspired the Lakers superstar to nickname her “Courtside Karen” on social media.
The game between the Atlanta Hawks and the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers was in the fourth quarter when a couple identified as Juliana and Chris Carlos of Atlanta got into the verbal exchange with King James.
Juliana Carlos, standing on the sidelines with her face mask hanging beneath her chin—in violation of the arena’s COVID-19 rules—can be heard telling James, “Shut the fuck up! Don’t talk to my husband like that!”
Within moments, State Farm Arena security guards, along with referee Mitchell Irvin, ejected the raucous quartet from the premises, and Juliana Carlos soon posted a video of the melee on her Instagram, calling James a “fucking loser” in the accompanying text. She followed that up with an epic tirade in which she gave her own account of what went down.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 2, 2021
In the video, which has since been removed from Instagram, Carlos recalls:
“So, I’m 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 fuck about LeBron. Anyway, I’m minding my own business, drinking my [beverage], having fun. All of the sudden, LeBron says something to my husband, and I see this and I stand up. And I go, ‘Don’t fucking talk to my husband.’ And he looks at me and he goes, ‘Sit the fuck down, bitch.’ And I go, ‘Don’t fucking call me a bitch. You sit the fuck down. Get the fuck out of here. Don’t fucking talk to my husband like that.'”
Some who’ve watched the video of the altercation believe James got in a few choice words of his own, claiming they can hear him calling Chris Carlos, “Ol’ steroid ass.” James contends that Mr. Carlos started the uproar by saying something to him that went “out of bounds.”
Lakers center Montrezl Howard backed his teammate’s play, saying, “I guess [Carlos] said something that rubbed the big dawg the wrong way.”
The Lakers went on to beat the Hawks 107 to 99 and James laughed off the incident, tweeting, “Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!”
James expressed mixed feelings about the excitable Hawks fans while talking to reporters after the game.
“They might have had a couple drinks, maybe,” he said. “And they could have probably kept it going during the game, and the game wouldn’t have been about the game no more, so I think the referees did what they had to do.”
James then added, “At the end of the day, I’m happy fans are back in the building,” he said. “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.”
The Hawks began letting fans back into the building at 8 percent capacity just last Tuesday. Even with only about 1,300 people in attendance, the Hawks are one of just nine NBA teams allowing live spectators at their games so far this season.