GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – A former NBA player apologized after his daughter was caught on video punching an opponent during a basketball tournament in Southern California last weekend.
Corey Benjamin, 43, who played three seasons for the Chicago Bulls and one year with the Atlanta Hawks from 1999 to 2003, issued the apology after his daughter clotheslined a 15-year-old opponent, knocking her to the ground and causing a concussion, KNBC reported.
Benjamin was not at his daughter’s game on Nov. 7. The punch was thrown as two club teams played during a tournament at the MAP Sports Facility in Garden Grove, according to The Associated Press.
“This is not how I raised my daughter,” Benjamin told KNBC.
Alice Ham told KNBC she considers it to be an assault and has filed a police report. She and her attorney allege that the mother of the girl who threw the punch told her daughter to hit the other girl.
“To the young lady who was punched by my daughter during a youth basketball game, I sincerely apologize to you and I am praying for your complete healing both physically and emotionally,” Benjamin told the television station this week. “To her family, I deeply apologize and regret that this happened to your daughter as she did not deserve this to happen to her. Finally, I apologize to all of those who have been impacted and hurt by the actions of my daughter as well as those of her mother. I am here for your family and wish only the best for you.”
Alice Ham, who was at the game, posted the video on Instagram. Lauryn Ham and Benjamin’s daughter tumbled to the ground after an attempted 3-point shot. As both teens got up and trotted toward the other basket, Benjamin’s daughter swings her arm and catches Lauryn Ham on her chin and throat, knocking her to the floor.
Kevin Hahn, an attorney representing the Ham family, said Benjamin’s apology was “a start.”
“I mean, we want the parties responsible to be held accountable,” Hahn told KNBC.
As soon as the punch is thrown and Lauryn Ham hits the floor, a referee blows his whistle and approaches the girls. The official told KNBC that the teen who hit Lauryn Ham was allegedly told by her mother that “You better go hit her.”
Benjamin’s daughter was ejected from the game and the gym, and the game ended, the television station reported.
“The most shocking and outrageous part is to hear the mother instruct her daughter to go hit her for that, and that’s unfathomable,” Hahn said.
Benjamin, who played for Oregon State University and was selected 28th by the Bulls in the first round of the 1998 NBA draft, said he was “committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct.”
AVAC United, the group that organized the tournament, also issued an apology, KABC reported.
“We take these matters seriously and have taken action to ban this player and her mother from participating in, and or attending any future tournaments hosted by our organization,” Gary Thomas, AVAC United’s CEO, said in a statement.