As NBA arenas around the country reopen to allow limited numbers of fans into games, some seem to be buying tickets just so they can heckle LeBron James. In the latest incident, a woman dubbed “Courtside Karen” by social media users was ejected from Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, along with her husband, after a heated exchange with the Lakers star during the fourth quarter of his team’s 107-99 victory over the Hawks on Feb. 1.
Identified as Juliana Carlos, the woman took to Instagram to explain her side of the story. She said she and her husband, Chris Carlos, were kicked out of the game “for talking s–t to LeBron James for talking s–t to my f—ing husband” when the Lakers faced off against their hometown Hawks. Another couple adjacent to the Carloses apparently was ejected at the same time after referees stopped the game and called arena security.
According to Carlos’ account, James initiated the confrontation when he looked at her husband and started cursing him out. “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 f–k about LeBron,” Carlos said in a video posted to her IG Stories.
“Anyway, I’m minding my own business … 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 f—ing talk to my husband.’ And he looks at me and he goes, ‘Sit the f–k down, b—h.’ And I go, ‘Don’t f—ing call me a b—h. You sit the f–k down. Get the f–k out of here. Don’t f—ing talk to my husband like that,’” Carlos continued.
NBA figured said the couple was likely kicked out because Carlos took off her mask to yell at James, which is against game protocol. “You obviously can’t have fans taking off their masks and shouting at our players during these times,” head coach Frank Vogel said.
James — who was treated generously by the referees all evening as he finished with 21 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, and zero fouls in 38 minutes — seemed bemused by the dust-up. He said he didn’t think the confrontation warranted the couple getting kicked out.
“At the end of the day, I’m happy fans are back in the building. I miss that interaction. I need that interaction. We as players need that interaction,” James said after the game with a smirk. “I don’t feel like it was warranted to be kicked out. There was a back and forth between two grown men … we said our piece … and then someone else jumped into it and said their piece.”
James added that he believed alcohol may have been a factor in the way the couple behaved.
“They might have had a couple drinks, maybe,” James 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.”
Social media users are having a field day with the incident. In addition to Carlos’ newly minted #CourtsideKaren hashtag going viral, there are countless memes depicting what would have happened if James’ wife Savannah had been at the game.
“Tell Savannah to pull up,” Black Culture Entertainment tweeted. “Cause that girl Savannah…. she something else, a sweet woman but she don’t play about hers. Karen would be picking her teeth from the floor,” added user @ASAPRemz1__.
Users also compared Carlos to the viral meme of the white woman angrily yelling and pointing at a cat, derided her by saying that Carlos’ husband seems old enough to be her father and said they don’t believe she is 25 as she claims.
“White privilege don’t work in the nba,” user @idnhdbhfd tweeted. “Lebron kicking a Courtside Karen out of a basketball game on the first day of black history month HISTORICAL,” added user @GotDammWatkins. “I never thought it would be possible for Lebron to take two W’s in one night. thanks #courtsidekaren,” added user @JwalSports.
James himself even got in on the fun, tweeting “Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!!” followed by a row of laughing emojis. In his Instagram Stories, James also laughed at the memes of Savannah, saying Carlos was lucky she didn’t have to face his wife. James also shared an old anti-LeBron post from Chris Carlos, and James added the caption “HE BEEN A HATER!!”
This is the second time in a matter of days James has been subject to fans’ ire. On Monday, Jan. 25, a fan was kicked out of the Lakers’ game in Cleveland against the Cavaliers for calling James a “racist” and narcissist.”
He allegedly held up T-shirts that read, “LeBron is a racist,” “LeBron is a narcissist” and “Gloria Goes West. Starring LBJ as king narcissist” — alluding to the rumored relationship between James’ mother and former teammate Delonte West, CBS Sports reported.