Thursday's game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers ground to a half in the fourth quarter when Carmelo Anthony got into an altercation with a pair of fans at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Those fans were quickly ejected from the arena before the game resumed, ending in a victory for the 76ers. One of those fans has subsequently been banned from Wells Fargo Center for life, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported after the game that one of the fans that was ejected kept calling Anthony "boy" and yelled at him to "get in the corner boy" and "keep shooting boy." Anthony confirmed after the game that there were two groups of fans calling him "boy," and he felt that those fans crossed a line.
"It is what it is," Anthony said. "Some things was said, unacceptable. I'm cool with fans heckling, fans talking trash, cheering for their team, or the other team. I'm all for that, but when you cross certain lines, as a man that's what you're gonna see, that's what you gonna get. I'm sure the people that's in charge will take care of it…My job is done when it comes to this."
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When asked about potential discipline, Anthony deferred.
"That's not up to me. I'm not in control of that. Only thing I that I can do is — sometimes you play through it, you try to play through certain things, you play through the heckle, but that's all fun and games. I've been doing that for 19-20 years. Especially coming here, it's been a great place to come and play and I know how the fans are here. But there's just certain things you don't bring to any type of sporting event, just certain things you don't say to anybody. If I was outside, I bumped into you, you said those things to me, then it would be a totally different story. But again, It's out of my hands now. So however they want to play it, they will play it."
The NBA has sadly dealt with a number of high-profile fan incidents in recent years. Anthony's teammate Russell Westbrook was the subject of racist taunts from a fan in Utah in 2019, and LeBron James similarly dealt with such an incident in Atlanta last season. Another fan threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving in Boston during last spring's playoffs. Teams typically respond swiftly by banning fans that engage in such behavior from arenas, but sadly the league has struggled to prevent these incidents.