If you thought the chaos between Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons or the Rockets and Clippers last night was crazy, Amare Stoudemire has a story.
Even though there were near altercations during two different basketball games last night, Stoudemire one-upped them with a wild anecdote.
“I saw one incident where one player kept jabbing and picking on, kept talking to another player. The guy was like, ‘I’m going to get you.’ Right before the game, you know we’ve got 30 minutes on the clock … He creeps up behind him … [He] puts him in a head lock, lays him down.”
Stoudemire explained that the player was legitimately knocked unconscious. While he did not mention any names of those involved, this sounds awfully similar to something once told by Grant Hill.
In 2015, Hill was on set of Open Court and the seven-time All-Star spoke about the time Shaquille O’Neal put Gordan Giricek in a sleeper hold minutes before a game for “talking trash.”
O’Neal, Giricek, Hill and Stoudemire were all on the same team in 2008.
Other players who were on the roster at the time of this story described by Stoudemire and Hill include Sean Marks (now the general manager of the Nets), Raja Bell (who once fought longtime O’Neal teammate Kobe Bryant) and Steve Nash (who is an advisor to the Warriors).
The team was coached by none other than Mike D’Antoni, who last night was incidentally shoved by Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin. It’s also worth mentioning that the following season, D’Antoni coached Blake’s older brother Taylor Griffin.
Steve Kerr was an executive for this Phoenix squad during this time period and could likely provide more details. Alvin Gentry, the head coach for the Pelicans and a former Clippers head coach, was an assistant coach for the Suns that season.
UPDATE: O’Neal once confirmed that he did, indeed, “choke out” Giricek right before a game. Nash said that he found the player by the locker room. The segment begins at the four-minute, forty-second mark.