Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
The referees stopped the game in the fourth quarter as James had an exchange with fans in courtside seats. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, four fans were escorted out of the arena.
James told reporters after the game he “missed that interaction” with a live audience and that he “[didn’t] feel like it was warranted to be kicked out.”
Anthony Davis was blunter: “It was a crazy little thing, but s–t happens.”
James ultimately laughed off the situation:
Starting Jan. 26, the Hawks began allowing as many as 1,700 fans to begin attending games through Feb. 24.
The present circumstances make it a particularly bad time to get into it with star athletes while seated feet away from the action. The relatively small number of people inside the building makes it easy to identify the parties, and Lakers coach Frank Vogel explained how there’s a level of risk in fans removing their face masks to yell at players.
Willian Rondo, the brother of then-Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, was escorted from a conference semifinals clash between L.A. and the Houston Rockets at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
If nothing else, history has shown the folly of antagonizing James during a game.
There was the time in 2008 when LeBron went on a run against the Toronto Raptors, spurred on partially by Chris Bosh‘s girlfriend at the time, Allison Mathis. Last week, the four-time MVP took exception to hearing a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers front office revel in him missing a three-pointer.
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“He was a little bit too excited about seeing me miss. … The good thing for him is I only come here once.”
LeBron says a member of the Cavs front office celebrated after he missed the shot at the end of the third.
Bron went on to score 21 in the fourth 😳 https://t.co/sYwgGyvO7R
A three-pointer from Trae Young brought the Hawks to within a point of the Lakers with 1:40 on the clock. James responded with five quick points to eliminate any doubt about the result.
Monday’s game will presumably be the Lakers’ only trip to Atlanta this season. When Los Angeles returns next year, Hawks fans would be wise to avoid getting into it with James.