Juliana Carlos and her husband Chris were seen getting into a spat with James during the Monday night game between the Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks. The couple can be seen cursing at James before officials and security at State Farm Arena threw them out. Juliana later took to Instagram to hurl even more offensive language at James, and eventually, the NBA legend took to his own Twitter page to call her out.
“I love the fans but I don’t take that kind of talk from anybody. There is a line that should never be crossed. She came at me with blatant disrespect, so I told them to sit their ass down. I thought I was talking to a father and daughter until she started calling him husband. I was stunned,” James said after the game.
Courtside Karen was MAD MAD!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 2, 2021
The post racked up nearly half a million likes and the term “courtside Karen” began trending as fans clowned Juliana for her offensive language and vitriol toward James.
Despite the comical tweet, James actually defended Juliana and her husband later in his post-game interview.
“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. I don’t feel like it was warranted to be kicked out,” James told a reporter following the Lakers’ win.
“They might have had a couple drinks, maybe. 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,” James added.
“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
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 2, 2021
His teammates and coaches were far less forgiving, slamming the couple and the arena for potentially exposing James and other players to COVID-19.
“It certainly exposed something with regard to having fans in the pandemic. You obviously can’t have fans taking their masks down and shouting at our players with the virus out there during these times,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after the game, according to ESPN.
The Atlanta Hawks are one of nine teams to have fans in arenas this season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With COVID going on, we obviously can’t have that. We want to make sure we all can be safe,” Lakers star Anthony Davis added.