LeBron James is happy that more fans are being allowed at NBA games during the pandemic, except for maybe one.
Officials stopped the game on Monday night in Atlanta when a woman sitting courtside was loudly heckling the Los Angeles Lakers superstar to the point where they exchanged words and she and three others were ejected from State Farm Arena.
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Juliana Carlos, the woman yelling at James, and her husband, Chris, were escorted off the court along with another man and woman, with one of the women extending her middle fingers up toward the players as the group was made to leave, according to Atlanta Hawks beat reporter Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.
James spoke about the interaction to reporters afterward.
"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."
Many teams in the league still do not allow any fans in attendance at games amid the pandemic, while some others have had limited fans sitting far from the court. Some teams like the Hawks have started to allow masked fans to sit close to the court again.
James claimed the incident began with Chris Carlos.
"I don't feel like it was warranted to be kicked out," he said. "There was a back-and-forth between two grown men. We said our piece, he said his piece, I said my piece, and then someone else jumped into it and said their piece, but I don't think they should've been kicked out.
"But they might've had a couple drinks maybe and probably could've kept it going and then the game wouldn't have been about the game no more, so I think the referees did what they had to do."
Juliana Carlos pulled down her mask as she was yelling at James.
"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."
"Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣" he wrote.
In an expletive-laden video Carlos posted on her Instagram story afterward, she said she "just got kicked out of the game for talking s--- to LeBron James."
She then claimed the James cussed out her husband during the game, prompting her to stand up and start yelling back at him.
The Hawks have launched an investigation into the incident, according to The Athletic.
James had the last laugh, scoring 21 points in the Lakers' 107-99 win over the Hawks.