LOS ANGELES — Tempers flared just after the second-quarter buzzer sounded in Friday night’s game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers when several members of the Grizzlies engaged in a shouting match with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, who was seated near the court.
Referees and security intervened to settle the confrontation as several Grizzlies players — including Dillon Brooks, Steven Adams, Ja Morant and Morant’s father, Tee Morant — gathered on the sideline opposite their bench at Crypto.com Arena to approach Sharpe.
Sharpe, who works as a commentator for Fox Sports, was escorted by security through the tunnel to a back hallway of the arena, where he stayed for halftime before returning to his seat for the third quarter.
Part of Sharpe’s persona on his show, “Undisputed,” is celebrating his unabashed fandom of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James opposite his co-host, Skip Bayless, a notorious James critic. Sharpe has appeared on the show wearing a goat mask and James’ jersey, suggesting that James is the greatest player of all time, or GOAT, of the NBA.
Sharpe granted ESPN a brief interview on his walk back to his seat before the second half started.
“They didn’t want this smoke, Dave,” Sharpe said. “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.”
Cameras later showed Sharpe and Tee Morant shake hands and hug at the end of the third quarter.
The Grizzlies lost 122-121 to snap an 11-game winning streak.