Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is ravaging Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas, the L.A. Lakers have not had any fans in attendance for home games this season.
LeBron James has said on many occasions how much he misses fans, and got a small taste of it on the team’s seven-game road trip. Against both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks, there was limited attendance, which at State Farm Arena included some courtside.
In both cases, minor altercations broke out between James and one of the attendees. In Cleveland, it was a member of the Cavs front office that knew James personally. In Atlanta, it was an antagonizing husband and wife who were removed from the game.
“At the end of the day I’m happy fans are back in the building. I miss that interaction, I need that interaction,” James said. “We as players need that interaction. I don’t feel like it was warranted to be kicked out.
“There was a back and forth between two grown men and we said our peace. He said his piece, I said my piece. And then someone else jumped into it and said their piece. I didn’t think they should’ve been kicked out.
“But they might’ve had a couple drinks and they could’ve probably kept it going and the game wouldn’t have been about the game anymore, so I think the referees did what they had to do. It’s fine.”
Although the exchange James was part of included the woman pulling down her mask, the Lakers All-Star downplayed health concerns. “I don’t think taking down a mask in that point in time would’ve harmed anybody but the people that were right next to her,” he said.
“I wasn’t close enough to her. I don’t think any of my teammates were close enough. Maybe a couple of the refs, so I hope they’re OK. Safety first.”
James concluded by reiterating his love for fans, whether Lakers supporters or not. “I love our fans. Lakers Nation and everybody else that’s against Lakers Nation. It just feels better,” he said.
“Fans in the stands is just better for everybody. Especially on the last game of a 14-day road trip.”
As L.A. County continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic, it’s unlikely fans will be back at Staples Center anytime in the near future.
James praises ‘high energy’ Lakers rotation
Without fans in attendance for most arenas, teams are constantly looking for ways to play with energy. James praised the Lakers bench unit for providing that spark.
“It’s a high energy group,” James said of the lineup that features him along with Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell.
“We all pay with a pace, a level of energy and we just fed off one another. We have multiple ballhandlers, multiple guys that can slash and shooting. It works well for us and Trezz commands the paint. It works extremely well for us.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!