Latrell Fontaine Sprewell aka “Spree” was born in Milwaukee in 1970. After a decent college career, he was drafted in 1992 by the Golden State Warriors. It was over there in Oakland that the voices in his head started calling the shots. Up until December of 1997, Spree was considered a good player, an intense high energy guy. However, that was until practice one day where Spree just snapped and went buckwild on his then coach, PJ Carlesimo. PJ was riding his players as usual and Spree was not in the mood. PJ pushed a little too hard when he said to Spree “Put a little mustard on those passes.” That was the last straw. Sprewell ran upto his Coach in front of the entire team, threw him on the ground and proceeded to choke him with both hands for about 15 to 20 seconds before his teammates pulled him off. Spree immediately left the gym, leaving behind only his horrified coach and shocked teammates. Twenty minutes passed and as the men tried to figure out why he snapped, Spree himself came through the gym doors with a bat in hand. The team got the bat away from him but this crazy son of a gun still threw a punch and clipped PJ. Long story short, Latrell was kicked off the team and wound up being traded to the New York Knicks after sitting out a year.
He vowed he was a changed man. Of course, he was just bullshitting. It’s not like anyone cared anyway. He was nasty as hell and carried the eighth seeded Knicks to the NBA Finals. Still, signs started poppin up that this guy wasn’t all there. First, there was a report that his pit bulls had flipped and had bitten his young daughters, severely injuring them. Spree responded by saying that he was keeping his dogs, they were part of the family. A few weeks later, the team could not reach Sprewell and began frantically looking for him. His agent and manager, nobody knew his whereabouts. People began to fear the worst. After 3 days, Spree showed up in NY and explained that he had driven cross country (without telling anybody) Then, a few days before the season started, Spree came in and said that his hand hurt. Upon getting x-rays, Spree’s hand was clearly broken. Reports circulated that he had snapped while on his yacht “Milwaukee’s Best” (classic) and had started punching the yacht itself. Seriously. Even better, he could have had surgery a month earlier but he hid his broken hand from the team until the season started.
After going AWOL again the next season, the writing was on the wall. This guy was nutso. The team traded him to Minnesota where his legend only grew. After becoming a core part of the team and earning some respect back, Spree was rewarded with an offer of 3 years at 7 million dollars per season. That would be 21 million greenbacks. Famously, he angrily turned down the offer claiming “I got a family to feed.” He never recovered from that one. Spree was eventually released from the team but with his hakuna matata mentality, he figured he’d get that loot later. He was even offered a 5 million dollar one-year contract from several contenders but he said he would “not stoop to that level”. A year later, in the midst of a championship campaign, the Spurs offered Spree half a million to play out the remainder of that season. He called their offer “a slap in the face.”
They won the championship without him.
Latrell Sprewell never played in the NBA again. In May 2008, his home was foreclosed on and his yacht had been reposessed and sold. His legacy will be that he was the first player who went beyond thinking about choking his coach. He actually went and did it! Also, he will go down as the only NBA player to have rims named after him. Those ridiculous rims that spin, they will forever be called Sprewells. Still, it must be said that although the man is totally insane, he was awesome to have on the Knicks. That’s because he was absolutely fearless. Crazy dudes are usually fearless.