A pair of 76ers fans were seemingly ejected from their seats near the court at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center during Thursday night’s game after they were verbally confronted by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony walked straight toward the stands following a stoppage in play in the fourth quarter and had some words for the fans. A ref quickly intervened, and the officials and security appeared to ask two fans to leave. Anthony then exchanged words with another fan sitting courtside, though Sixers big man Joel Embiid and another ref pulled the veteran Lakers forward away. That fan was not seemingly asked to leave.
“It is what it is,” Anthony said of the incident after the game. “Some things were said. Unacceptable. I’m cool with fans heckling, fans talking trash, cheering for their team, booing the other team. I’m all for that. But when you cross certain lines, as a man … that’s what you’re going to see. That’s what you’re going to get, as you saw.”
Anthony declined to say what exactly was said, but Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reported that one of the fans kept calling the 10-time All-Star “boy.”
“It’s just certain things you don’t bring to any type of sporting event,” Anthony said. “Certain things you don’t say to anybody. If I was outside and I bumped into you and you said those things to me then it would be a totally different story.”
This is hardly the first incident opposing players have had with Sixers fans. Just last season, Russell Westbrook, Anthony’s teammate who was then playing for the Washington Wizards, had popcorn dumped on him by a fan in Philadelphia. Before this season, Wells Fargo Center announced a zero-tolerance policy for “racial or identity-based” language.
“Unacceptable language and unacceptable behavior by fans,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “There’s got to be a higher standard and hopefully that’s handled the right way.”
Anthony finished Thursday’s game with nine points, three rebounds and an assist in 26 minutes. The Lakers, who were playing without LeBron James, lost 105-87.