Carmelo Anthony's postgame altercation with Kevin Garnett got us thinking about the best off-court fights in NBA history.
After Monday night's Celtics game against the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony was so incensed at All-NBA agitator Kevin Garnett that he reportedly stationed himself outside the Celtics' locker room and later lingered by the team bus. The video is fascinating. There's Anthony, surrounded by a handful of NBA security guards, a half-dozen cops and a bunch of other people, when Rajon Rondo of all people appears in the corner of the frame to engage in one of his patented staring contests.
It's unclear what, if anything, Melo planned to do about it. He didn't talk to the media afterward and KG downplayed it, saying it was just basketball. Precocious rookie Jared Sullinger got off the best line, telling reporters, "That's testy? I've seen way worse stuff in the '80s and I wasn't even born in the '80s. So, if that's testy, I didn't see it."
It remains to be seen what it is that Garnett actually said that set Melo off, especially since most eyewitness accounts to KG's non-stop yammering is that it's usually a string of non sequiturs punctuated by some Pryor/Carlin worthy cursing. We won't have to wait long for the rematch, because the Knicks come to Boston on Jan. 24 for a TNT game.
We'll let Phil Miller of the Salt Lake City Tribune tell it:
Stackhouse, who had traded words with Snyder on the floor during the game, was standing near the entrance to the arena's garage, where the Mavericks players park their cars, and where the Jazz's bus was waiting. As Snyder walked past, according to witnesses, the pair began arguing again, and quickly came to blows.
Snyder was knocked to the concrete floor during the fight, according to one arena security official who witnessed the confrontation but declined to give her name. "They started yelling, and then there were several punches. [Snyder] got hit pretty hard a couple of times," the female security official said. "He was bleeding by the time it was over."
The lesson, even in 2013: Don't mess with Stack.
"I saw Oakley coming out of the tunnel. He passed by Jeff McInnis, who was sitting on the bench, and socked him," recounted Orange County Register sportswriter Art Thompson. "Jeff tried two or three times to get back at him, but players and coaches held him back."
"I thought it was a little severe," Raptors head coach Lenny Wilkens said of the suspension.
Then there was the Tyrone Hill incident. Oak brained Hill with a ball during a morning shootaround -- the man liked to work in the daylight -- reportedly over a gambling debt and when Hill eventually paid, Oakley was still not satisfied.
"Everything in life is double," Oakley said before Wednesday's game. "If he didn't pay me $108,000, he didn't pay me."
Battle and trainer Gary Briggs were at the door of the Cleveland dressing room when Indiana's McCloud came up from behind and punched Battle in the face. Bleeding from the mouth, Battle staggered backward and grabbed a board the size of a 2-by-4. At that point, a guard stepped between the two players and broke up the fight.
Still, all that pales in comparison to the time legendary ABA enforcer John Brisker got $300 out of Commissioner Jack Dolph following the 1971 All-Star Game. From Terry Pluto's Loose Balls as told by announcer Van Vance:
I said, "John who are you looking for."
He said, "Jack Dolph."
I said. "Why do you want the commissioner?"
He said, "I want my All-Star money right now."
Dolph came by just then and Brisker said, "I want my $300."
Brisker had that look about him. So Dolph took out his wallet, peeled off three $100 bills and handed them over to Brisker."
In 1978 Brisker flew to Uganda at the invitation of notorious dictator and rabid basketball fan Idi Amin, and that was the last anyone ever heard of him. Some say he was executed by revolutionaries. A few believe he is still alive and well, although not the Kings County medical examiner, who declared him legally dead in 1985.
Anthony and Garnett didn't quite come to blows like these fights, but it's fun to take a look back.