At some point, opposing fans will learn not to rile up LeBron James if they want to have any hope of winning the game. Wednesday, though, was not that night.
Midway through overtime of the Lakers’ 124-116 win in Indianapolis, James escorted a referee to the sideline to point out a fan and have her ejected. After a brief discussion between James, the official and security, the courtside fan (and a man sitting next to her) were escorted out of the arena.
Dying at this girl's face when she realizes LeBron is really going to get her thrown out. pic.twitter.com/QkvJALgV15— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) November 25, 2021
At the time, the Lakers led the Pacers by just three points. On the Lakers’ next possession, James knocked down a step-back 30-footer to push the lead to six points, and turned to an old school celebration in the moment.
James then iced the game away with another patented fadeaway jumper, the final two points of his season-high 39, with eight of those coming in the extra session.
After the game, James addressed the situation during his press conference, though he didn’t reveal much in the way of specifics about what was said to have him react so strongly.
“I mean, nothing is uncomfortable for me,” James said, “but there is a difference between cheering on your home faithful, or booing opponents or things of that nature, not wanting your opponents to be successful, and then there are moments where it goes outside the line with gestures and words that shouldn’t be tolerated in our game. From nobody. Things I would never say to a fan, and a fan should never say to a player.”
James has been in the league for a very long time and has been hated by opposing fans for nearly that entire time, particularly after his move to Miami, meaning he’s heard many things shouted his way. That also would suggest that the things yelled at him on Wednesday were particularly bad and — as he indicated — crossed a line for him to single the person out so quickly. This was obviously not your run-of-the-mill trash talk or jeers.
Memorably, James had a similar interaction with a fan during a game in Atlanta, originally spawning the “Courtside Karen” nickname. He also had an interaction with a member of the Cavs front office during a game in Cleveland that also fueled a massive fourth quarter from James.
Both contests ended in Lakers victories, which should have been the lesson learned from those circumstances if you’re an opposing fan or staffer (and also, like, just don’t be dicks, either). But that memo wasn’t passed to Indiana’s own Courtside Karen on Wednesday, which gave Lakers fans another epic LeBron James moment.