The 1993 Suns/Knicks Brawl that made the NBA rewrite all the rules on fighting. 21 players fined!
If you were born in the 90s, then you probably know Kevin Johnson, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers and Greg Anthony as a respected Mayor, GM, Coach and basketball analyst. Now in the early 90’s, they were all a bunch of tough “little guys” that weren’t afraid to get into some on the court scuffles, which is something the Knick’s were pretty familiar with during this decade.
This video starts off innocent enough with some trash talking and bumping between KJ and Doc Rivers, then at the 4 minute mark, all hell breaks loose! Suits are torn, benches are cleared and punches are thrown – including a sucker punch to KJ by Greg Anthony who ran onto the court in street clothes.
The best part of this story is that only $160k in fines, 21 total, were given out and that was the biggest amount in NBA history up to that point. KJ and Rivers were suspended for 2 games and Greg Anthony was suspended for the rest of the season (just a few weeks left). The 14 players that left the bench had to pay whopping $500 each.
Greg Anthony issued a statement about his actions:
“It was a very immature act on my part. I got involved emotionally. It was really unfortunate. I want to give apologies to the Phoenix Suns’ organization, to fans and to Kevin Johnson. Emotionally, I just got caught up in what I saw happen, but that’s still no excuse for my actions.”
Danny Ainge had a little more to say about Greg and the fight:
“It was between K. J. and Doc. You see that type of thing in tense games. Anthony is when it got out of hand. I don’t consider the Knicks thugs. The way John Starks and Anthony Mason and Doc Rivers play, I’d love to have them on my team. We have nothing personal. The only thing some have personal — I know our whole team is not fond of Greg Anthony. The other stuff happens. But a guy coming off the bench in street clothes and throwing a cheap shot on the star of our team? I’m told as Anthony was walking off, he said, ‘I got him good.’ K. J. was so angry with Greg Anthony. He wanted to talk to the official and ask why he’d been ejected for being punched by Greg Anthony and he wanted to go after Greg Anthony. Like I said, I love the way Starks, Mason and Rivers play. But Greg Anthony goes overboard. He’s not that good a player, either.”
This brawl would force Stern and the NBA to make some stricter rule changes about fighting.
Any player who throws a punch now immediately ejected from the game, suspended for at least one game, and fined an appropriate dollar amount. Any player throwing a punch that connects with another player will be ejected from the game, suspended for a minimum of one to five games, and fined an appropriate dollar amount. Teams will also be fined an amount equal to the total sum of their players’ fines. Any player leaving the bench area during a fight will be fined $2,500, up from $500, and that player’s team will be fined $5,000 for each of its players who leave the bench area.
Any player who leaves the bench during a fight automatically suspended for a minimum of one game and fined a maximum of $20,000; in addition to losing 1/82nd of his salary for each game, he is suspended.
As “immature” as the “thugs” acted that day on the court it looks like they all learned their lessons and went on to have pretty good professional careers after they hung up their sneakers.