ABOVE: Don Champion reports on the royal couple’s Monday night in New York City.
TORONTO — He’s known on the basketball court as King James but LeBron James made what some are calling a royal faux pas Monday night in Brooklyn.
The 6’8″ Cleveland Cavaliers star — visibly sweaty after a game against the Brooklyn Nets — put his arm around the Duchess of Cambridge.
The New York Daily News opined the 20-second contact “was in bad taste.”
UK newspaper Daily Mail declared James “breached protocol” when he put his hand on Kate Middleton’s shoulder and The Telegraph reported James “appeared to surprise the Duchess of Cambridge by breaking protocol.”
The Daily Express called James’ friendly touch “a departure from what is considered appropriate protocol.”
According to The Independent, Middleton reacted “awkwardly” to the gesture. “James made the apparently crucial mistake of placing his arm around the Duchess when they posed for photos,” the newspaper reported, “thus breaking royal protocol, which prohibits anyone from touching or kissing members of the royal family.”
But, according to the Buckingham Palace website, “there are no obligatory codes of behaviour — just courtesy” when greeting a member of the Royal Family.
Since Americans are not subjects of the monarchy, they are not required to bow or curtsy, though many do as a show of respect.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at their seats in the Barclays Center early in the second half of the game. After the third quarter, music royal couple Jay-Z and Beyonce were introduced to William and Kate.
In video shot by a spectator and posted online, Jay-Z is seen briefly putting his hand on William’s shoulder.
The couple is on an official visit to the U.S.
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama made headlines in 2009 when she put her arm around Queen Elizabeth at a formal event.
In June, Argentinian polo player Facundo Pieres sparked a furor when he placed his hand on the Queen’s back.
BELOW: Watch the Duke and Duchess at a pre-game photo op.