Basketball ace LeBron James breached British royal protocol on Monday when he embraced pregnant Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge for a photo backstage at the Barclays Center in New York.
The Duchess and her husband Prince William were the guests of honour at the Brooklyn Nets home game against James' Cleveland Cavaliers, and the sports icon was formally introduced to the couple after leading his team to a 110-88 victory.
James presented the royals with a box of cupcakes and two personalised Cavaliers jerseys, including one for their 16-month-old son George, and then posed for pictures.
However, the towering forward clearly broke royal etiquette by casually placing his arm around the Duchess' shoulders as the cameras snapped away - a move which has been heavily criticised in the U.K. press. Under traditional protocol, guests are prohibited from touching members of the royal family, except to shake their hand.
US First Lady Michelle Obama previously drew similar criticism for putting her arm around William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, during a meeting at London's Buckingham Palace in 2009.
But James appeared oblivious to his greeting blunder and later took to his Instagram.com blog to gush about meeting the royals.
Sharing a collage of images from the rendezvous, he wrote, "This very moment will be forever remembered and put up in my house. It's all good and all smiles on this side."
James wasn't the only celebrity to come face to face with Prince William and Catherine - courtside regulars and hip-hop royalty Jay Z and Beyonce were also introduced to the couple during the third quarter of the game after being seated opposite each another. The superstars were filmed shaking hands with the royal couple and exchanging pleasantries.