Former NBA player Renaldo Balkman (pictured), who was relegated to taking a gig with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after being let go by the Knicks last season, has gotten himself kicked out of his current league for choking a fellow teammate, reports USA Today.
Balkman, who played for the PBA’s Petron Blaze Boosters, signed with the team last December. On Friday, during a game against the Alaska Aces, Balkman had a conniption for being fouled. The 28-year-old player argued with players and referees, pushing them out of his way when they tried to calm him down.
Fellow teammate Arwind Santos then attempted to intervene between Balkman and a third referee but got his arm aggressively slapped away, which was followed by a shove. When Santos came back at Balkman by shoving him as well, that is when Balkman snapped: He gave Santos a hard push, then out of nowhere, grabbed the player by the neck and choked him.
Fellow teammates jumped in to pull Balkman away from Santos.
The incident astonished the league players, coaches, and spectators who were all taken aback by Balkman’s violent show of aggression.
Watch the choking incident here:
Balkman was fined $6,100 over the incident by the PBA and apologized for his assault this week via his Twitter account:
This was unintentional towards @arwindsotnas, I am a team player who always has the best interest of the team at heart.
I got caught up in the moment of a very intense game.I respect @R_Balkman32
I wld like to apologize to the fans, Petron Blaze, my teammates, the PBA and especially @tubidronald71 and @Arwind029
The man who was once touted as being a “sparkplug off the bench” and a “crowd favorite for his hustle and enthusiastic defense,” received a career-crushing blow from the PBA’s powers that be: As a result of his uncontrolled show of violence, Balkman has been banned for life from the PBA, making him the first import in 15 years to have received an edict such as this one.
PBA’s commisioner Chito Salud said that before he handed down the PBA’s decision, they carefully weighed Balkman’s history as a player: Unfortunately, Balkman assaulted another teammate during an FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela, where he head butted a player.
According to USA Today, Chito said in a public statement released to the press:
I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own team-mate who was trying to pacify him,” Salud said.