PHOENIX SUNS

Suns fan that Luka Doncic had ejected accepts Mavs star’s apology

Jan 26, 2024, 9:56 AM | Updated: 12:11 pm

Phoenix Suns fan Kenneth Roe looked up from his phone during his team’s eventual win against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday to star Luka Doncic pointing and staring straight at him.

Since then, he said he was ejected from his seat, ejected from American Airlines Center and ejected from the sidewalk outside the arena before he became the relatively anonymous subject of a few NBA-wide headlines.

But Roe is not giving out any petty energy, nor making a bigger deal out of what he called “innocuous, run-of-the-mill trash talk” that led to some drama with one of the league’s biggest stars.

Neither is Doncic, who during Thursday night’s edition of Inside the NBA on TNT apologized for the incident.

“I’m not going to start some beef with Luka. I get it,” Roe said on Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Friday. “(Doncic said on Inside the NBA that) a lot of it was frustration and I’m sure it was. … I may have poked the bear there and I’m sure there was just some frustration. I get it.

“I think I got my money’s worth … from the portion of the game that I saw. I don’t think I’m going to ask for a refund or anything like that. I accept his apology and I get it, Luka. You’re off the hook.”

What is the Suns fan’s story about why Luka Doncic had him ejected from Dallas arena?

According to Roe, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon accurately described what Roe had barked from the stands that was the final straw for Doncic.

Doncic reacted to the heckler, a Suns fan who wore a Booker “El Valle” jersey while sitting in the second row behind the midcourt press area, late in the third quarter. The man shouted: “Luka, you’re tired! Get your ass on the treadmill!”

Doncic, who was walking near midcourt, turned around and stared at the fan for a few seconds. As Doncic jogged back on defense, he waved toward the Mavs vice president of security, pointed at the fan and gestured that he wanted him ejected. Doncic approached the security chief on the court during the break between quarters, pointed at the fan again and requested for him to be ejected. The fan left without further incident after being approached by an arena staffer.

A Mavericks source said Thursday that the fan exited voluntarily and was not actually ejected.

Roe, however, said he wasn’t only removed from his seat.

He told Bickley & Marotta that after an usher near his seat first gave him a warning after the “treadmill” comment, he quieted down wanting to remain at the game.

“I was compliant, like hey, I don’t want to get kicked out. I don’t want to be a hooligan or someone who’s running his mouth,” Roe said.

“It was two minutes left in the third quarter and I was just watching the game. (There was a timeout and) during the break, I was just on my phone, and I look up and there’s kind of this buzz around the section, like there’s something going on,” he added. “I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ I look up from my phone. Luka is looking at me … I was just a deer in the headlights.”

Roe was soon asked by another usher to leave his seat, then escorted off the concourse and out of the arena.

Once outside on a sidewalk, Roe said he was trying to contact his friends still inside American Airlines Center to tell them he’d left when another employee of the arena told him he had to leave the property entirely. Roe went across the street to watch the end of the game.

Meanwhile, Doncic bristled in the postgame media session when reporters asked if the fan had only made the “treadmill” heckle. Per MacMahon:

“He was cursing me the whole first half, too,” said Doncic, who had 34 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the loss, which Mavs co-star Kyrie Irving missed due to a sprained right thumb.

Asked why he didn’t ask for the fan to be ejected during the first half, Doncic said: “Because I never would eject a fan. They paid for tickets, but I had enough. It’s a little bit of frustration.”

Roe considered the final heckling the worst of it and added it was the only time he said something directly to Doncic.

“We all saw the quote that went viral. That was kind of the jab … the worst one,” Roe said.

“In terms of was I going ‘F you,’ whatever, it wasn’t anything like that,” he added. “No. That quote that went viral, that was the one thing I really said I directed at Luka, to be honest. … It struck a nerve.”

Roe said the Suns have contacted him and that he might be in attendance for a local game soon at the team’s courtesy.

The Suns fan also had a message for Devin Booker: “D-Book if he is listening or hears this, that’s my guy. Been a fan through (when) he was a rookie, through those dark ages.”

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