Chris Paul was busy playing in Game 4 for the Houston Rockets on Sunday night in Salt Lake City. His brother C.J., who doubles as his business manager, was sitting on the baseline.
Late in the third quarter, though, cameras caught a security guard escorting C.J. off the floor and out of Vivint Smart Home Arena. As they passed the bench, both Chris and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni tried to talk to the security guard, but to no avail.
— Born Salty (@cjzero) May 7, 2018
Security let C.J. return just a play later, after they sorted out what had happened, so he could watch the Rockets beat the Jazz 100-87 and take a 3-1 series lead.
The reason for the quick ejection, though, turned out to be a simple mistake.
“The guy next to me called (referee James Williams) a (expletive), but they thought it was me,” C.J. told USA TODAY after the game. “The thing is, I know James. He reffed me in college. But (the security guard) comes up to me, and says ‘Hey, we need to talk to you in the back.’ I said, ‘for what?’
“I told them what happened. I don’t talk like that.”
It’s not the first time this postseason that players have been involved in incidents with fans in Salt Lake City. In the Jazz’s opening round series against the Thunder, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbook got into it with a Utah fan after Game 6. Westbrook claimed the fan was heckling him as he walked off the floor following the loss, and took a swipe at him. The fan denied those claims.
C.J.’s encounter on Sunday, though, was far less straightforward than the Westbrook’s incident at Vivint Smart Home Arena — and much more confusing.