Carmelo Anthony is used to hearing fans taunt him at times during his long NBA career, but this time was different.
The 37-year-old Anthony took exception to what some Philadelphia fans said to him during the Lakers’ 105-87 loss to the 76ers on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center, calling it “unacceptable.”
With 7:01 remaining in the fourth quarter, Anthony confronted a fan standing behind the row of courtside seats near center court. The former Knicks star told reporters afterward that the fan referred to him as “boy”. Referees and players from both teams also intervened to prevent the incident from getting out of hand.
The game was delayed for several minutes while security personnel advanced to the spot of the confrontation and referees guided Anthony away from the incident.
According to an ESPN report, a Sixers spokesman said one fan was ejected and that the Wells Fargo Center would be in charge of any further discipline. ESPN also sent an email to the arena’s security office, but it was not immediately returned.
Anthony, who scored nine points in 26 minutes off the bench, also heard taunts from another fan seated courtside. He also used similarly offensive language, according to Anthony.
“Some things were said,” Anthony 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, you just, that’s what you’re going to see. That’s what you’re going to get, as you saw there.”
Sixers center Joel Embiid, who scored a team-high 26 points for the 76ers, came to Anthony’s side when one fan looked to escalate things.
“I was just trying to calm the situation because they were just going back and forth, and I really wanted to just go home and finish the game,” Embiid told reporters. “So, yes, that’s what I wanted, to calm the situation down so we could play and move on.”
Anthony said the situation is now “out of his hands” but that he would accept whatever other steps taken to resolve the matter.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel also expressed his displeasure with the fans’ behavior.
“Unacceptable language and unacceptable behavior by fans is the simplest way to put it,” he said. “There’s got to be a higher standard. And hopefully that’s handled the right way.”
It was a long night for Anthony and the Lakers who were playing without the 37-year-old LeBron James, who is battling a sore left knee and is day to day.