BOSTON -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, sitting courtside at TD Garden on Wednesday night during the Boston Celtics' 103-99 win over to Cleveland Cavaliers, nearly ended up with LeBron James in his lap when the Cavs star stumbled into the front row early in the fourth quarter.
James lost his footing while going hard for a putback of a Derrick Williams miss and plowed into a camerman on the baseline. His momentum carried him toward Belichick, but James appeared to catch himself a bit as he neared Belichick.
"That's why I slowed up," said James. "I definitely slowed up because I knew it was him. I'm not taking no legend out. I'm not doing that. I need to keep seeing him win. That's pretty cool for me."
James, a three-time NBA champion, joked that he wasn't sure he was on the same level of Belichick, a five-time Super Bowl champion as a head coach.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and running back running back LeGarrette Blount were also spotted at Wednesday's game but it was Belichick who drew the biggest cheers each time he was shown on the JumboTron.
Belichick and girlfriend Linda Holliday left the court to loud cheers as they walked down the tunnel near Boston's bench and Belichick was later spotted entering the Cavaliers' locker room after the game.
Belichick's head-coaching career started with the Cleveland Browns back in 1991.
Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas had a safer interaction with Belichick, wandering over during a TV timeout to greet him.
"I just wanted to shake his hand," said Thomas, who said it was the first time he had met Belichick. "And show my respect."
ESPN's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.