What I love about our “This Date in History” page is it helps reignite some of our memories from sports. Today’s seemed to fit right in with the theme of this week’s Random Pro, a player who is remembered for one terrible incident than his otherwise solid playing career.
Latrell Sprewell will always be linked with choking his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, after he felt the coach disrespected him in a practice. The always moody Sprewell (read more here) had fought with teammates before, but choking a coach for doing his job – coaching! – is ridiculous.
As Sports Illustrated wrote:
When he assaulted and threatened to kill his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, during a Dec. 1 practice, he committed one of the most outrageous acts on the court or field of play that American professional sports in the modern era has known, and that act will surely follow him for the rest of his life.
(Read the whole article here)
The incident set off a firestorm of what was wrong with athletes and while it didn’t turn overly racial, it didn’t help that Sprewell didn’t exactly conform to the standards that a lot of Americans envision of their athletes. Sprewell’s cornrows and sour attitude only fed in to the hatred that people had of him.
However, while Sprewell was nowhere near the side of right in this situation, there have been tons of athletes through the years who have wanted to do what Spree did. You don’t think someone wanted to choke out Bobby Knight at some point?
Sprewell was never known as a good guy and further illustrated his terrible attitude after he complained that during his $14.6 million contract when he was aiming for a new deal he said “I’ve got a family to feed.”