SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Bay Area rapper and entrepreneur E-40 is a fixture at Golden State Warriors games. He’s regularly seen sitting courtside, cheering for the Dubs, and having fun with the players.
But at Saturday’s NBA Playoffs game at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento against the Sacramento Kings, he was ejected from the game.
And on Monday, the NBA reporter for The Athletic said E-40 will not attend Game 2 in Sacramento, but he does plan to attend Game 3 at Chase Center in San Francisco.
In several videos posted on social media, it's clear to see that the Vallejo-born rapper visibly upset as he is led away by security.
An NBA source told KTVU he had been standing and blocking the view of people behind him.
E-40, also known as Earl Stevens, sent a statement to The Athletic, that said racial bias led to the ejection. He said a fan was heckling him over the course of the game.
Part of the statement reads, "I finally turned around and addressed one heckler in an assertive but polite manner. Yet, shortly thereafter, Kings’ security approached me, assumed that I instigated the encounter and proceeded to kick me out of the arena."
When asked about the incident, Warriors player Klay Thompson called E-40 one of the team’s biggest supporters.
"I hope they right that ship because he deserves to be there by our bench. And in my time knowing him he’s always been respectful. He’s always been considerate of those around him. So it was very weird to see, and I hope it’s resolved," Thompson said at a news conference.
"40 is like an uncle to me," said Warriors player Gary Payton II. "Just making sure he’s good and that our guys took care of him."
Fellow Bay Area rapper Mistah F.A.B. also reacted to the incident.
In a text he said, "Unfortunate is [an] understatement to watch a man that has done so much for a region be globally humiliated for cheering on his sports team. It’s almost saccharine like there’s no way that we witnessed a cultural icon be treated so unjust."
Sports analyst and former NBA player Jalen Rose said E-40 deserved an apology.
"I’ve known him for over 30 years. He don’t even move like that. He moves with integrity," said Rose.
So far – the Kings have issued no apology.
But the team did release a statement.
It reads, "The Sacramento Kings take these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made."