Buffett Booted from NBA Game

ByABC News

Feb. 5, 2001 -- Jimmy Buffett may not be wasting away in Margaritaville, but he did waste his courtside seat at an NBA game on Sunday.

The 54-year-old singer created a disturbance near the end of regulation during Sunday's Miami Heat-New York Knicks showdown, briefly stopping the game and getting kicked out of the arena as well.

With about two minutes left in a tense Eastern Conference contest between the traditional rivals, and the score tied at 91, play stopped as a surreal commotion ensued in a seat beneath one of the baskets — and Jimmy Buffett was escorted out of Miami's American Airlines Arena by a team of cops.

Buffett, whose good-time hit "Margaritaville" launched him to stardom, was reportedly yelling "This is bulls---" and other profanities from his seat just behind the baseline.

He watched the rest of the game from a tunnel in the arena.

Riley Plays Some 'D'

"I told (referee) Joe Forte, I said, 'Do you know who that is?"' said Pat Riley, coach of the Miami Heat and a friend of the singer. "I said, 'Do you mean to tell me you've never been a Parrothead in your life?' So that tells you where our officials are coming from.

"He thought I was insulting him. He wanted to give me a technical for calling him a Parrothead," Riley said.

Buffett's fans are known as "Parrotheads."

Initially, Buffet — a noted Heat fan who has sung the national anthem at the team's playoff games — refused to leave as players from both teams milled around on court. Far from indignant, however, the singer smiled and laughed and looked around, eventually igniting the hometown crowd by raising his hands and walking out, still smiling.

"Jimmy was there with his son," said Riley. "I don't think it was that bad. I mean, come on."

Forte stood by his decision.

"He was using profanity," he explained. "There was a little boy sitting next to him and a lady sitting next to him. He used some words he shouldn't have... we don't have to take that kind of thing."

NBA: A Little Too Interactive

NBA officials and league authorities have been especially concerned with keeping conflicts between fans, players and officials to a minimum in recent weeks.

On Friday, Philadelphia star Allen Iverson was fined $5,000 by the league for shouting a derogatory slur at a taunting fan in Indianapolis.

At the Knicks-Heat game, two players were almost ejected themselves in overtime, not long after Buffett was tossed.

The Heat's Anthony Mason and Larry Johnson of the Knicks tangled and were called for double technical fouls. No punches were thrown, however, and both players finished the game.

The Knicks wound up beating the Heat, 103-100, in overtime, to take sole possession of second place in the NBA's Atlantic Division.

ABCNEWS Radio and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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