Sunday, December 1, 2013

Spreewell Chokes Out Carlesimo

On Dec. 1, 1997, a bad season for the Golden State Warriors turned much worse when Latrell Spreewell choked P.J. Carlesimo during a team practice.

Apparently, the coach was critical of Spreewell's passing during the practice. At the time, the Warriors were 1-13 and looking into trading the already disgruntled star.

Sprewell was suspended for 10 games without pay. The next day, in the wake of a public uproar, the Warriors voided the remainder of his contract, which included $23.7 million over three years, and the NBA suspended him for one year. Sprewell took the case to arbitration, and, as a result, the contract voiding was overturned and the league suspension was reduced to the remaining 68 games of the season. He sought to vacate the arbitration contract under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

 His case went through all appeals, and was remanded. During his suspension, Sprewell was charged with reckless driving for his role in a 90-mph accident that injured two people, and spent three months under house arrest as part of a no-contest plea.

It was not Spreewell’s first violent incident with the Warriors; in a 1993 practice, Sprewell fought with Byron Houston, who was 50 pounds heavier than Sprewell and had what many teammates describe as having a Mike Tyson-like demeanor and physique. Then in 1995, Sprewell fought with teammate Jerome Kersey and returned to practice carrying a two-by-four, and reportedly threatened to return with a gun.

After the Warriors suspension of Spreewell he was traded to the New York Knicks who he would help lead to the NBA Finals in 1999, making them the first eighth seeded team to reach the finals. He would spend a few years with the Knicks before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he would finish his career.

Spreewell would finish his career as one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers totaling 16,712 points, with an average of 18.3 points per game, 3,664 assists, an average of 4.0 assists per game, and 1,294 steals averaging out to be 1.4 steals per game over the span of his career.

Spreewell was a four-time NBA All-Star in 1994-1995, 1997 and 2001. He was also voted to the All-NBA First Team in 1994, as well the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. In his rookie year he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1993.