LeBron James had to be held back by security at the Crypto.com Arena Tuesday after a Los Angeles Clippers fan’s comments caused him to stop and turn in the tunnel at halftime.

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The fan reportedly made comments about James’ poor performance and receding hairline, common criticisms of the 38-year-old at a time of profound struggle for the Lakers. Though he reacted as though he clearly heard the heckler, security ultimately intervened before he could properly respond. The Lakers star went on to score 46 points in the contest, though the Clippers earned the last laugh in the local rivalry game with a comfortable 133-115 win.

As James rapidly approaches the all-time scoring record, which currently belongs to longtime Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the luster of the achievement will likely be dulled somewhat by his team’s poor play in the 2022-23 season. Even with the return of Anthony Davis and a win over the lowly Spurs Wednesday, Los Angeles only has a 23-26 record, 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference standings.

Though the expanded playoff format keeps the team in contention for the time being, the Lakers’ postseason hopes dwindle with every poor showing, of which there have been many this season. James has been consistently excellent despite his age, but Los Angeles’ woes around him have been just as persistent. The team’s stad-studded roster, which also includes Davis, Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley, simply hasn’t played to expectations.

Long-term frustration with the team’s performance is clearly taking a toll on James, who has expressed his frustration in a variety of ways over the course of the season. A near-miss conflict with a heckler is just the recent of his displays, which have included multiple tense press conferences and poorly concealed reactions on the court. He is literally making history as an individual while the team struggles around him.

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