Aside from perhaps a few seasoned comedians, nobody on Earth has been heckled more than Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. Over nearly two decades in the NBA, he’s been called every name in the book. He’s heard fans criticize him for building super teams, for losing in the Finals and for trying to trade teammates. At this point, hecklers are old hat for James.
So when one tried to get under his skin on Wednesday in Washington, James knew exactly how to respond. With arenas at limited capacity, noise is far easier to distinguish, so when a Wizards fan shouted “Hey, LeBron, you’re a big baby,” James could easily hear it and issue his response: sarcastic crying noises.
Again, this sort of thing is nothing new to James. There is even a “crying LeBron” meme to counter the famous “crying Jordan” image, so baby jokes are well-worn territory for him. At this point, it’s fairly easy for him to have a sense of humor about these things.
But rarely do we get to hear such a direct response from players when fans heckle them like this. It would basically be impossible with 20,000 people in the stands. Under normal circumstances, James could only hear fans close to the floor, and we’d never be able to hear his response. But Capital One Arena is currently open at only 10 percent capacity, and James, who is out with a high-ankle sprain, was feeling playful. That helped create one of the season’s best soundbites.