With Denver up by about twenty points and with less than two minutes left in the ball game, Knicks rookie Mardy Collins prevented a J.R. Smith fastbreak and a possible dunk by fouling him hard, grabbing him around the neck with both arms. This started the ugly brawl in Madison Square Garden and resulted in 10 players getting ejected.
The ejected players were Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, Anthony Miller, Eduardo Najera, J.R. Smith and New York’s Mardy Collins, Channing Frye, Jared Jeffries, David Lee and Nate Robinson.
Below is a video clip of what happened. You can actually hear the punch thrown by Carmelo Anthony as it hits Mardy Collins in the face.
This is sad coz a lot of kids watch this game live in the stadium and others on TV. A lot of these kids look up to these players as role models and idols. Carmelo Anthony together with Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are considered as franchise players and the future of the league. However, with this incident, Anthony has left a permanent stigma on his young career. People would always remember him for that sucker punch on Mardy Collins.
Carmelo Anthony’s statement about his actions:
“Last night’s altercation with the Knicks escalated further than it should have. I take full responsibility for my actions in the matter. In the heat of the moment I let my emotions get the best of me. I apologize to the fans, the Denver Nuggets, the NBA, my mother, and my family for the embarrassment I have caused them. I ask you all for your forgiveness.
I also want to make a personal apology to Mardy Collins and his family. My actions were inexcusable, and I am sorry for making this an even more embarrassing situation.
What makes this all the more painful is that this was one of the most important weeks of my life. I just realized one of my biggest dreams when we opened the Youth Center in Baltimore that bares (sic) my name. To see the community excited and hundreds of kids smiling was an incredible feeling. Now the thought of thousands of kids seeing this incident on TV pains me. This is not the example I want to set.
It’s my hope that we work to move forward from this event, and never let something like this happen again.”
- Carmelo Anthony
Just today, the NBA Commissioner David Stern handed out the penalties. NBA leading scorer Carmelo Anthony who threw the now infamous sucker punch on Mardy Collins, got a 15 game suspension. Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith who threw punches at each other and scuffled on the floor each got a 10 game suspension. Mardy Collins who committed the flagrant 2 foul on J.R. Smith got 6 games. Other players who got suspended were Jared Jeffries – 4 games, Knicks Jerome James & Denver’s Nene both a game each for leaving the bench. David Stern also fined both organizations, the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks $500,000 each.
These penalties show that the league is serious about zero tolerance on fights and brawls or anything that could destroy the image of the NBA. However, basketball is a contact sport and when tempers flare, players tend to forget and lose control. I’m sure that this won’t be the last fight or brawl we’ll see in the NBA.
Photo source: ESPN.com; Video: Google