LeBron James after ‘Courtside Karen’ exchange: ‘I miss that interaction’ with fans
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said he was ecstatic to have fans back in NBA arenas — including the new nemesis he dubbed "Courtside Karen."
In postgame comments following the ejection of raucous fans from Monday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks, James said his heated exchange with a heckler took a backseat to his feelings about having fans back in venues. NBA arenas have been relatively empty due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"At the end of the day, I'm happy fans are back in the building," James told reporters over Zoom. "I miss that interaction. I need that interaction. We as players need that interaction."
“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
About half of the NBA teams still do not allow any fans in attendance at games, but some teams have welcomed limited fans sitting far from the court. Teams like the Hawks have started to allow masked fans to sit close to the court again.
In the exchange that got four fans booted, a woman said on her Instagram story that she "just got kicked out of the game for talking (expletive) to LeBron James." She then said James swore at her husband during the game, leading her to stand up and start yelling back at him. Referees had to pause the game and have security step in.
"I don't feel like it was warranted to be kicked out," James 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."
LeBron James scored a season-high 46 points in the Lakers' win. (Photo: David Richard, USA TODAY Sports)
The woman, whom James later nicknamed "Courtside Karen" in a tweet, 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."
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