Thursday, April 24, 2014

Danny Ainge and Wayne Rollins Rumble

On April 24, 1983, a classic NBA altercation takes place.

In a first round meeting between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks, Boston sharp-shooter Danny Ainge takes one too many elbows from Hawks center Wayne "Tree" Rollins.


Ainge, who had allegedly called Rollins a "sissy," finally ran up and tackled the 7-footer, causing a bench-clearing brawl to ensue. While Ainge and Rollins were scuffling on the floor, Rollins took a bite at Ainge's middle finger.

"He almost bit my finger off,'' Ainge said in a  Sports Illustrated interview. "He bit it all the way through. I had to get two stitches.''

Ainge was ejected from the game, as was Atlanta guard Mike Glenn. Rollins, however, was not ejected. Boston went on to win the game and sweep the Hawks out of the postseason. Rollins was later given a $5,000 fine and a five-game suspension to be assessed at the beginning of the '83-84 season.

The Boston Herald covered the story with the headline: "Tree Bites Man." In later years, the facts of the incident began to strain, and people began to believe that it was Ainge who had bitten Rollins, and not the other way around. Ainge was able to dispell these rumors, though only after displaying the scar that had been made on his middle finger.