Bird-flipping fan nowhere to be found at Heat-Bulls game

Filomena Tobias applauds the effort of the Miami Heat during Game 2 of the playoff series against the Chicago Bulls.
(John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

Miami The closest thing to a bird at AmericanAirlines Arena on Wednesday was Miami Heat player Chris Andersen, nicknamed “Birdman.”

As for the Heat fan who gained notoriety for flipping the bird to a Chicago Bulls player, she was nowhere to be found. Filomena Tobias did not attend Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Chicago Bulls. Last week’s incident made her an overnight Internet sensation.

She received the most attention — positive and negative — for a fan in attendance at a Heat game since rapper Lil Wayne. He caused a commotion when it was thought he was kicked out of the arena in February. It was later revealed he left on his own.


For Tobias, her 15 minutes of fame began when Bulls center Joakim Noah was ejected in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s blowout victory in Game 2 on May 8. As he exited the court, he was greeted with a middle finger by Tobias.

Photos of the moment instantly went viral on the Internet. The excess of attention caused Tobias’ attorney to release a statement Wednesday.

“Ms. Tobias has been a devoted Miami Heat fan for as long as she can remember, and like many other devoted fans, she unfortunately allowed her passion for the team to disregard proper fan etiquette,” the statement read.

Tobias, 47, is the widow of a hedge fund owner who, under mysterious circumstances, was found dead five years ago in the pool of the couple’s mansion. It was her fourth husband.

“Ms. Tobias is distressed at the needless national attention that this incident has garnered and the unwarranted invasion of privacy by the press into her personal life, including the malicious and untrue reporting about her husband’s tragic passing,” the statement said.


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