Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James pulling out “The Silencer” wasn’t the lone highlight of their overtime thriller against the Indiana Pacers last week. Apart from hitting a couple of dagger 3-pointers, James also utilized his influence by asking the referee to eject two hecklers at the front row. The referee, without hesitation, did what James asked of him.
Now, several days after the incident, the NBA has broken its silence on the matter. According to its spokesman, the two fans were ejected “for violating the NBA Fan Code of Conduct.” We are still in the shadows with regard to what the fan actually said. However, rumors on social media and YouTube reveal that one of the hecklers said something uncalled for about James’ son Bronny.
It was an unfortunate incident. Lakers fans would have definitely wanted a firmer sanction. But as it stands, the two Pacers hecklers won’t be enshrined into the Hall of Shame of fans who have been slapped with lifetime or indefinite bans from NBA arenas.
The NBA has not been coy on slapping fans with lifetime or indefinite bans. Not too long ago, a fan threw some popcorn at Russell Westbrook as the guard was heading to the locker room. This infuriated Westbrook that he wanted to go at the fan. Fortunately, coaching staff and security were able to hold him down. Unfortunately for the fan, who happened to be a season ticket holder, he was banned indefinitely and had his pass revoked.
New York Knicks fans are known to be the most passionate crowd in the league. However, it is inevitable that the New York fan base has a few bad apples. The baddest and most disgusting of them all happened to be just a few feet away from Atlanta Hawks Trae Young during a sideline inbound. Amid a pandemic, the fan decided to spit at Young. The Knicks organization apologized to Young and banned the fan from The Madison Square Garden indefinitely.
Just like New York, fans in Utah are passionate about their team. Again, there are those who seem to forget about their morals once they get their hands on those prized NBA tickets. A Jazz fan was banned for life after blurting racially motivated slurs at Russell Westbrook in 2019. One can say that this was the main incident that caused the NBA to monitor audience behavior more closely.
Yes, fans worked hard for their tickets. But this doesn’t mean they can cross any line they want.