Fans packed the Staples Center Saturday night (Oct. 20) to see Lebron James don the purple and gold jersey as a newly minted Laker in his first home game. And despite his performance (the 14-time All-Star scored 24 points), it was the fist that went a flying between a normally collected Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo late in the fourth quarter that stole the show.
According to reports, 33-year-old Paul said the altercation began after Rondo, 32, spat in his face. After officials reviewed footage, Paul can be seen wiping his face and then inching closer while putting his hand in Rondo’s face. Moments later Rondo punches Paul and the brawl begins. James can be seen pulling Paul away while Carmelo Anthony drags Brandon Ingram away who also threw a few punches. Suspensions will reportedly be handed out to all three players.
The Lakers and Rockets threw punches at Staples 😳 pic.twitter.com/YKWRkqHnXF
— ESPN (@espn) October 21, 2018
Rondo and Paul may have lost their cool Saturday night, but NBA fans know heir feud has been simmering for about a decade.
— Sherwob Holmes (@World_Wide_Wob) October 21, 2018
Paul’s newest teammate and close friend Carmelo Anthony confirmed Paul’s account of the story and called Rondo’s actions “blatant disrespect. “It was bullsh*t. Plain and simple. Unacceptable. What happened was unacceptable,” said Anthony. “You don’t do that to nobody. In sports or the streets, that’s blatant disrespect.”
James Harden said Paul was left with no choice. “As a man, the only thing you can do and react is stand up for yourself.”