GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — Former NBA player Corey Benjamin has issued an apology after seeing a viral video showing his teenage daughter sucker-punch an opponent during a Southern California girls’ basketball game.
“As a father, I’m shocked and disappointed at my daughter’s behavior as this is not a reflection of the values and standards that my family holds. Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires,” Benjamin said in a statement obtained by news media Thursday.
The punch was thrown Sunday as two club teams played during a tournament at the MAP Sports Facility in Garden Grove.
The blow knocked 15-year-old Lauryn Ham to the ground. Her mother, Alice Ham, told KNBC-TV 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 said in the statement. “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.”
Benjamin said he was “committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct.”
Kevin Hahn, an attorney representing Ham, told KNBC that the apology was “a start.”
“We want the parties responsible to be held accountable,” Hahn said.
AVAC United, the group that organized the tournament, also issued an apology, KABC-TV 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, CEO of the organization, said in a statement.
Benjamin’s pro career included stints with the Chicago Bulls, the Atlanta Hawks and overseas teams.
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