LA Lakers fans who wanted a close-up view of LeBron James got more than they bargained for when he crashed through the front row in their game against the LA Clippers.
The incident occurred during the third quarter of the contest on Tuesday, when the Lakers were trailing by 14 points. Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was in possession, but the four-time NBA champion had different ideas.
The 38-year-old rushed to claim a turnover and was successful with his steal. However, the ball was clearly going out of bounds and as he attempted to keep it in play, James crashed into the courtside spectators and fell onto his back.
With the front row bearing the full impact of James' 113kg frame, the arena gasped and commentators voiced concerns for the 38-year-old, who continued to lie on the floor. Seconds later, however, James was back on his feet and returned to the court seemingly uninjured. .
For James, the match was personally significant, despite the Lakers' 133-155 defeat. His 46 points, including a career-best nine three-pointers, means that he is now the first player to score 40 points in a game against every NBA team in the league. James is now just 177 points short of the all-time NBA scoring record of 38,387 points, held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
After James emerged from his dive into the crowd the arena broke out in applause and the game continued. Realising that James was unhurt, many NBA fans began to see the comical side of the incident.
His former team-mate Dwyane Wade was sitting on the sidelines and according to the broadcasters, the former Miami Heat player said James was just "resting up" while he lay on the floor. NBA fans seemed to agree with Wade, arguing that maybe the 18-time All Star player needed to take a break after dominating the game, even in defeat.
For the Clippers it was a 10th successive victory over the Lakers, a record that stretches back to the opening game of the 2020-21 season.