Here is what we know for sure: During overtime of the Lakers win over the Pacers, LeBron James pulled the referee Randy Mott over to complain about comments from two Pacers fans sitting courtside. Those fans were ejected, with the woman making a fake-crybaby face on the way out (which helped get #LeSnitch trending on Twitter for a while).
LeBron is not happy with these Pacers fans pic.twitter.com/ymuiIquZi9
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) November 25, 2021
The reaction to this incident is more interesting than the ejection itself.
It’s a Rorschach test for how someone feels about LeBron — people see what they want to see.
People who dislike LeBron for political reasons or just like to troll him are quick to think some harmless words undid LeBron. LeBron’s defenders are quick to say he was within his rights to have fans who crossed a line ejected.
We do not know what the fans said that raised LeBron’s ire and the people reacting to this don’t know. Fans are reacting out of emotion, based on how they feel about LeBron. Multiple rumors are floating around about what was said — some of which were outside the bounds of basic human decency and would warrant ejection — but we do not know for sure what happened. We also don’t know for sure if the couple had previously been warned by security to back off, as some witnesses have suggested.
“When obscene gestures and language come into it, can’t be tolerated,” James said to reporters after the game. “There’s a difference from cheering for your team and not wanting the other team to win and things I would never say to a fan and they shouldn’t say to me.”
Everyone who sits in the first few rows of an NBA game has a small postcard on their seat warning them that certain language and gestures towards players, coaches, or referees could lead to their ejection.
This is not the first time LeBron has had a fan ejected; there was the “courtside Karen” incident in Atlanta for one. There have been others.
How you feel about all of it says more about how you feel about LeBron than the incident itself.