The Celtics squeaked out an OT win against the Lakers in Boston on Saturday, but it wasn’t without controversy. As LeBron James drove toward the basket with a second left in regulation, Jayson Tatum appeared to make contact with James’s arm, but no foul was called.
“James was furious and stunned. He slapped his arm to mimic the foul, jumped up and down and put his hands on his head. But it did no good at that point,” Globe sports writer Adam Himmelsbach wrote. After the game, officials admitted that they missed a critical call.
Online, chaos predictably ensued — much of it at the expense of Celtics center Al Horford’s sister, Anna Horford, who’s very active on social media.
As James reacted to the officials’ call, Anna Horford jokingly tweeted that the basketball superstar deserved an Academy Award.
“The Oscar goes to LeBron James,” Anna wrote of James’s theatrics.
Irate Lakers fans immediately began flooding her feed, and she quickly deleted the tweet.
“I tweeted & deleted ‘And the Oscar goes to’ about LeBron’s reaction & Lakers fans lost their damn minds. Like, that was one of my mildest tweets ever,” Anna wrote in another tweet.
Yet again, Twitter users deluged her with a wave of inappropriate messages — and terrifying threats to her safety and her brother’s.
“Please help me report,” Anna tweeted in response to the threats.
In an email to the Globe on Tuesday, Anna said she’s become accustomed to how “dark and hateful” things can get online, “but sometimes I still feel taken aback by it.”
When one person asked why she would write jokingly about the game and “then get upset when you get the tweets YOU KNOW you would get?,” Anna responded that she tweeted “nothing to warrant death and rape threats . . . I have no problem with rivalries and banter, the line was crossed.”
Anna told the Globe she didn’t want bad actors on social media to feel they can post threats with impunity.
“If I feel like it’s all becoming too much, I’ll take a step back, but I also don’t want Internet trolls to feel like they can bully me without consequences,” she said. “The reason I share or retweet these threats is because the more attention they get, the more likely they’ll be removed.”
Anna Horford thanked fans and supporters who’ve had her back over the last several days.
“I’ve gotten an overwhelming amount of notifications and messages of kindness and I really appreciate it,” she tweeted on Monday. “Especially my Cs family.”
Correction: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misidentified who fouled LeBron James.
Brittany Bowker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.