On Monday night, NBA superstar LeBron James returned to Cleveland to play his old team, and received more flak than normal from a heckler in the small crowd.
During the Los Angeles Lakers matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a fan taunted James continuously. The heckling became such an issue that police removed the fan from the arena after an aggressive confrontation.
Fans in Cleveland still have mixed views on James leaving the Cavs not once but twice. Many are thankful that he returned to Cleveland and led the Cavs to a championship. However, many fans are still bitter that he left Cleveland for Los Angeles. Each time James returns home to Ohio – he grew up in Akron – emotions are heightened and the perennial All-Star is both cheered and booed by fans. Yet last night’s heckling went beyond the norm.
TMZ Sports obtained the subsequent police report on the heckler. Officials allege that Joseph Bilgen, 49, held up offensive shirts and screamed profanities at LeBron and others during the game. In addition, the report stated that Cleveland players and employees, including general manager Koby Altman, pointed out the heckling fan to security guards.
Police received complaints of offensive custom shirts that Bilgen brought into the arena and held up while screaming. They included shirts that read, “LeBron is a racist,” “LeBron is a narcissist,” and others with sexual innuendos on them. When confronted by police in the arena, Bilgen became combative and did not cooperate.
LeBron James Has Season High After Being Heckled
The heckler who taunted LeBron James refused to leave quietly and created a scene at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Officers involved with the disturbance claim that Bilgen became so combative that he would need to be removed from the arena.
The police report states that an officer who asked Bilgen to leave was berated by the heckler. Allegedly, Bilgen told the cop to “go f— yourself” repeatedly and during one instance even put his hands on the officer. The report states that as Bilgen finally left, he held another custom shirt high in the air.
“Gloria Goes West. Starring LBJ as king narcissist,” the shirt read, referencing James’ mother’s name Gloria and his move to L.A.
Furthermore, officers said in the report that a female security guard took the shirt from Bilgen. As she did, Bilgen grabbed her arms and hit the guard in her left side. Security and police struggled for several minutes to remove Bilgen from the arena while near the exit. Eventually, they succeeded in removing Bilgen from the premises, but supposedly he attempted to rush back into the arena multiple times.
According to Cleveland.com, police did not arrest Bilgen at any point and no charges have been filed against the heckler.
The heckler’s attempts to rattle James obviously did not work. If anything, it did the opposite. James went on to have his best game of the year against his former squad. He totaled 46 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in the Lakers’ win.