She one of the most celebrated women in sports and is a WNBA icon, but Lisa Leslie is highlighting her controversial moments in the league that some sports fans may have forgotten about. Leslie currently holds the position as head coach for the Big 3 team the Triplets, but prior to that position, she was tearing up the court for the Los Angeles Sparks. Leslie’s professional career lasted for 12 years until 2009 and her accolades include Finals MVP awards and championship titles.
Yet, in 2008, during a game between the Sparks and the Detroit Shock, an argument broke out between players, and Rick Mahorn, assistant coach to the Shock, stepped in to calm the fray. During the brawl, Leslie made her way to the court, as many other players did, to save her teammate, and during the chaos, Leslie was knocked to the floor. The story of what happened will differ depending on who you ask.
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It was widely reported that Mahorn, a former NBA player for the Detroit Pistons, attempted to restrain Leslie, resulting in her falling to the ground. However, during her appearance on Uncensored, the sports icon alleges that she was pushed by Mahorn.
“All I remember seeing is us running down court and Candace, when I looked over, she was in a tussle with one of the Detroit players and she was on the bottom,” Leslie recalled. “That’s what I saw. That’s my teammate. And I was on my way to get whomever off of her to get her off the floor. Somehow in the moment of running one way and then in the direction of me turning around, I never saw the coach, Rick Mahorn, who is what, [six-foot-six, six-foot-seven]?”
“He pushed me while I was on my way back to looking, you know, focus at Candace on the ground and Detroit player on top. I was running over there like, to get her, and he pushed me. Literally pushed me so hard that I was off both my feet and I landed somewhere back from where I was starting from the run.”
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“Why would this man put his hands on me I will never understand that day,” Leslie continued. “Why I didn’t have a lawsuit against the WNBA and him personally I have no idea why I listened to other people because it was just simply wrong.” Mahorn was suspended for two games following the incident.
Watch Lisa Leslie share her story—and make sure to check out archive footage of the infamous court brawl—below.