A courtside couple heckling LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers during their road game against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night briefly became the most talked about story in the NBA. The two fans were ejected from the game after a verbal exchange with James, leading to a memorable night of reaction from both sides.
The altercation started in the fourth quarter when a spectator identified as Chris Carlos began hissing at James from his courtside seats. James responded and the officials eventually removed the fans from the game during a stoppage in play. The Lakers went on to win, 107-99. You can watch the incident here.
After the fans were ejected, a woman identified as Juliana Carlos defended her husband by posting a profanity-laced video to Instagram. James gave his own account of what happened during the exchange after the game, but said he didn’t think the fans should have been kicked out of the game.
Here’s what James said postgame when asked about the fans:
“My guy tonight, he … you know, I don’t want to say he went overboard, but he went a little bit out of bounds,” James added. “Too close for comfort for me. And I said my piece, and we could have moved on, but I think it was so close to the officials that I think the officials heard it as well what he had said and it kind of got blown out of proportion.
“It’s just like sometimes on the floor when two guys get into a scuffle, or get into a little jostling and the refs try to break it up really fast and it looks like it’s bigger than it really is. That’s what it pretty much was tonight. But the difference is we’re on the court and we’re not having any alcoholic beverages. They might have had some alcoholic beverages on the side, so that could have made them feel a little tougher than they actually are.”
Fans gave Juliana Carlos the nickname “Courtside Karen” after her Instagram video spread around social media. LeBron had a little fun with the nickname after the game, too.
What did LeBron James say the hecklers?
The Athletic reviewed footage of the incident and the only comment audible from James is him calling the fan “Ol’ steroid ass.”
After James responded, Juliana Carlos said she told James “Talk to my husband one more time and I will f*** you up.”
Chris Carlos has apparently been a LeBron hater for years. He posted this on Instagram during James’ days as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Carlos was seen with her mask pulled down as she left the court. Fans are only allowed in arenas for 10 teams at the moment, including the Hawks. All of them are mandated to wear masks at all times.
Here’s video of Carlos saying she already had Covid and didn’t want to keep her mask up:
“Courtside Karen” reaction from NBA players
James’ Lakers teammates had fun with the incident after the game. It sure seems like “Courtside Karen” is going to stick for Mrs. Carlos.
Drake also jumped into IG comments to get some jokes off:
Atlanta-based rapper and noted Hawks fan 2 Chainz said he saw the whole incident go down:
“Courtside Karen” memes were coming in hot
A few of our favorites:
LeBron James has been heckled by fans throughout his career
James has been at the top for so long that he’s made plenty of enemies within opposing fanbases over the years. The incident with the Carlos couple drew plenty of headlines, but similar situations have been happening to James for years.
Just days ago, a 49-year-old Cleveland Cavaliers fan was kicked out of the arena for heckling James. James talked back to some hecklers in Chicago last year, too. Here’s a full retrospective on fans who have been taunting James throughout his career.
Of course, James has had many more positive interactions with fans throughout his career:
If you come at the king, you better not miss. The Carloses did, but something tells us they don’t mind all of this newfound attention.