You just never know what you’re going to see at a Lakers game in Los Angeles. Courtside celebrities are a regular occurrence, and they occasionally engage in banter (friendly or not-so-friendly) with players during the game. It’s usually in the spirit of competition, but every once in a while things can get out of hand.
That’s exactly what happened just after the halftime buzzer during the Lakers‘ 122-121 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Crypto.com Arena on Friday, when Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end and Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe got into a heated exchange with multiple members of the Grizzlies.
The whole thing appeared to start when Memphis forward Dillon Brooks had words for Sharpe on his way to the locker room. Sharpe was not having it, and gestured to Brooks to come over to him. Grizzlies center Steven Adams then made his way toward Sharpe as a mob of players and security guards began to form. Eventually Tee Morant, the father of Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, joined in, and Sharpe directed his attention toward him as the two were separated.
According to ESPN’s Mark Jackson, Tee Morant said that his “blood pressure didn’t go up a bit — nothing but love and respect for Shannon Sharpe.”
“They didn’t want this smoke,” Sharpe told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin at halftime. “They do all that talking and jockeying and I ain’t about that jockeying. It started with Dillon Brooks. I said he was too small to guard LeBron. He said, “F—‘ me. I said ‘F—‘ you back. He started to come at me and I said, ‘You don’t want these problems.’ And then Ja came out of nowhere talking. He definitely didn’t want these problems. Then the dad came and he obviously didn’t want no problems. But I wanted anything they had. Don’t let these fools fool you now.”
Cooler heads seemed to prevail as Sharpe took his seat for the second half. Later, Sharpe and Tee Morant were seen sharing an embrace at the end of the third quarter.
Brooks responded after the game, saying that Sharpe shouldn’t have been allowed to remain in the arena after the altercation.
Lakers superstar LeBron James voiced his support for Sharpe following the win.
“I run with Shannon 365 days, 366 in a leap year, 24/7. That’s my guy,” James said. “I’ll always have his back. He can talk with the best of them, that’s for sure.”
Luckily things didn’t escalate to the point of a physical altercation, but it was certainly a memorable night in Los Angeles.