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Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell
Sprewell during a Timberwolves game.
No. 15, 8
Position: Shooting Guard / Small Forward
League: NBA
Personal information
Full name: Latrell Fontaine Sprewell
Born: September 8, 1970 (1970-09-08) (age 53)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Physical stats
Listed height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight: 195 lbs (88 kg)
National Basketball Association career
Debut: 1992 for the Golden State Warriors
Final game: 2005 for the Minnesota Timberwolves
Career information
High school: Washington (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
College: Three Rivers CC (1988–1990)
Alabama (1990–1992)
NBA Draft: 1992 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24th
Selected by the Golden State Warriors
Playing career: 19922005 (13 years)
Career history
19921998 Golden State Warriors
19982003 New York Knicks
20032005 Minnesota Timberwolves
Career highlights and awards
  • NBA All–Star (1994, 1995, 1997, 2001)
  • All–NBA First Team (1994)
  • NBA All–Defensive Second Team (1994)
  • NBA All–Rookie Second Team (1993)
  • Second–team All–SEC (1992)
  • SEC All–Defensive Team (1992)
Career statistics
Points: 16,712 (18.3 PPG)
Assists: 3,664 (4.0 APG)
Steals: 1,294 (1.4 APG)
Stats at
Stats at Basketball–

Latrell Fontaine Sprewell (born September 8, 1970) is an American former professional basketball player who played for the Golden State Warriors, the New York Knicks, and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the National Basketball Association (NBA). During his career, Sprewell received four NBA All–Star selections and an All–NBA First Team selection; he also helped the Knicks reach the 1999 NBA Finals and the Timberwolves to the 2004 Conference Finals. Despite Sprewell's accomplishments, his career was overshadowed by a 1997 incident in which he choked and punched then–Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo during practice, which resulted in a 68–game suspension.

Early life[]

Sprewell attended Washington High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

College career[]

Sprewell played competitively with the Three Rivers Community College Raiders Basketball Team in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, from 1988 to 1990, and from 1990 to 1992 with the University of Alabama, where he was a teammate of future NBA players Robert Horry, Jason Caffey, James Robinson, and Marcus Webb.

Professional career[]

Golden State Warriors (1992–1998)[]

Sprewell was selected 24th overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. Sprewell, nicknamed "Spree", made an immediate impact, starting 69 of the 77 games he played in during his rookie season and averaging 15.4 points per game. His performance improved over the next few years; he led the team in scoring and played on the Western Conference All–Star team in 1994, 1995, and 1997, scoring 24.2 ppg in 1996–97, fifth in the league. In 1993–1994, he led the league in games played and minutes per game as the Warriors, led by Sprewell and NBA Rookie of the year Power Forward Chris Webber, made it back to the playoffs. They lost in the first round to the Phoenix Suns in three games.

1997 choking incident[]

A significant blemish on Sprewell's career occurred on December 1, 1997, when he attacked head coach P.J. Carlesimo during a Warriors practice in Oakland. When Carlesimo yelled at Sprewell to make crisper passes (specifically asking him to "put a little mustard" on a pass), Sprewell responded that he was not in the mood for criticism and told the coach to keep his distance. When Carlesimo approached, Sprewell threatened to kill him and dragged him backward by his throat, choking him for 7–10 seconds before his teammates and assistant coaches pulled him off Carlesimo. Sprewell returned about 20 minutes later after showering and changing and again accosted Carlesimo. He landed a glancing blow at Carlesimo's right cheek before being dragged away again by the assistant coaches. This was not Sprewell's first violent incident with the Warriors; in 1995, he fought with teammate Jerome Kersey, returned to practice carrying a two–by–four, and reportedly threatened to return with a gun. In a 1993 practice, Sprewell fought with Byron Houston, who was 50 pounds heavier than Sprewell and had what many teammates described as a Mike Tyson-like demeanor and physique.

Sprewell was suspended for 10 games without pay. The next day, in the wake of a public uproar, the Warriors voided the remainder of his contract, which included $23.7 million over three years, and the NBA suspended him for a year. Sprewell took the case to arbitration and the contract voiding was overturned, but the league did suspend him for the rest of the season without pay, which amounted to 68 games. He sought to vacate the arbitration contract under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. His case went through all appeals, and was remanded. During the time he was serving his suspension from the NBA, Sprewell was charged with reckless driving for his role in a 90–mile–per–hour accident that injured two people. He spent three months under house arrest as part of a no–contest plea.

Sprewell's 68–game suspension was the longest suspension given by the NBA until Ron Artest was suspended for the remainder of the 2004–05 season (including the playoffs), totaling to 86 games, due to his involvement in a brawl in Detroit.

New York Knicks (1999–2003)[]

Due to the NBA lockout, Sprewell did not play again until February 1999, after the Warriors traded him to the New York Knicks for John Starks, Chris Mills, and Terry Cummings. Sprewell played 37 games for the Knicks that season, playing off the bench in all, but four games.

Many pundits felt that trading for the alleged volatile Sprewell was too big a gamble for the Knicks, but Sprewell vowed he was a changed man. The Knicks, who at the time still revolved around veteran All–Star Center Patrick Ewing, narrowly qualified for the 1999 Playoffs, making the field as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. They navigated past the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, and Indiana Pacers, becoming the first eighth seed in NBA history to reach the Finals, where they met the San Antonio Spurs, who beat them in five games. Sprewell enjoyed a good series for the most part, averaging 26.0 ppg. He tallied 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Knicks' 78–77 Game 5 loss, and was featured on the cover of the September 1999 issue of SLAM Magazine.

Sprewell moved into the Knicks' starting lineup for the 1999–2000 season at Small Forward, and averaged 18.6 points, helping the Knicks to a 50–32 record, good enough for the third seed in the Eastern Conference, led by Sprewell, Ewing and Shooting Guard Allan Houston. The Knicks navigated past the Toronto Raptors in three hard–fought games and the Heat in seven even harder–fought games in the first two rounds of the playoffs, en route to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers. But their quest for back–to–back NBA Finals appearances came to an end when they lost to the Pacers in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Sprewell averaged 19.7 ppg in the series, and the Knicks gave him a five-year $62 million contract extension.

The 2000–01 season saw Sprewell step up as the Knicks' leader with Ewing traded to the Seattle SuperSonics, making his only All–Star appearance for the Knicks that year, scoring 17.7 points. But despite another impressive season from Sprewell, the Knicks lost in the first round to the Raptors in five games in the playoffs. In 2001–02 Sprewell averaged 19.4 ppg, including 49 points in a game against the Boston Celtics, one of three times he scored 40 or more points that season; but the Knicks missed the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

Before the 2002–03 season, Sprewell reported to training camp with a broken hand, which he claimed occurred when he slipped on his yacht; the Knicks fined him a record $250,000 for failing to report the incident. He then sued the New York Post for claiming he had broken his hand in a fight. Sprewell lost the lawsuit.

That season, Sprewell made NBA history as he hit 9 of 9 three–point shots in one game, making the most three–pointers without a single miss for the first time en route to a season–high 38 points versus the Los Angeles Clippers. The record has since been tied twice by then–Chicago Bulls Guard Ben Gordon. After that season, in which the Knicks missed the playoffs for the second year in a row, Sprewell was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a four–team trade involving Keith Van Horn, Glenn Robinson, and Terrell Brandon.

Minnesota Timberwolves (2003–2005)[]

In the 2003–04 season, Sprewell became part of the league's highest–scoring trio alongside superstar Power Forward Kevin Garnett and Point Guard Sam Cassell. With a 58–24 record, the Timberwolves qualified for the 2004 Playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference. They navigated past the Denver Nuggets in five games and the Sacramento Kings in seven in the first two rounds of the playoffs. In the Western Conference Finals they met the Los Angeles Lakers, who defeated them in six games, still the Timberwolves' only appearance in the Conference Finals. Sprewell finished third in team scoring at 16.8 ppg, behind Garnett's 24.2 and Cassell's 19.8.

On October 31, 2004, the Timberwolves offered Sprewell a three-year, $21 million contract extension, a substantial pay cut. Claiming to feel insulted by the offer, he publicly expressed outrage, declaring, "I have a family to feed." He declined the extension and the Timberwolves offered him nothing more. Having once more drawn the ire of fans and sports media, Sprewell had the worst season of his career in the final year of his contract. In the summer of 2005, the Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Houston Rockets all expressed interest in signing Sprewell, but none ended up signing him.

One month into the 2005–06 season and without a contract, Sprewell's agent, Bob Gist, said his client would rather retire than play for the NBA minimum salary, telling Sports Illustrated, "Latrell doesn't need the money that badly. To go from being offered $7 million to taking $1 million, that would be a slap in the face." Several days later, Gist said that Sprewell planned to wait until "teams get desperate" around the trade deadline in February, and then sign with a contending team—an eventuality that never materialized. Gist said that Sprewell would not be interested in signing for any team's $5 million mid–level exception, calling that amount "a level beneath which [Sprewell] would not stoop or kneel!"

In March 2006, Sprewell was offered contracts by the Dallas Mavericks and defending champion San Antonio Spurs, both of which were considered at the time strong favorites to win the NBA championship, but Sprewell failed to respond and remained a free agent as the season closed. The Lakers also showed some interest in him at the start of that season, but nothing came of it.

Over the course of his career, Sprewell started 868 of the 913 games he played in, averaging 18.8 ppg, 4.2 apg, and 4.1 rpg with playoff career averages of 19.7 ppg, 3.4 apg, and 4.3 rpg. He was an All–NBA First Team selection at the end of his second season and made the All–NBA Defensive Second Team that same season.

NBA career statistics[]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
* Led the league

Regular season[]

1992–93 Golden State 77 69 35.6 .464 .369 .746 3.5 3.8 1.6 .7 15.4
1993–94 Golden State 82 82 43.1* .433 .361 .774 4.9 4.7 2.2 .9 21.0
1994–95 Golden State 69 69 40.2 .418 .276 .781 3.7 4.0 1.6 .7 20.6
1995–96 Golden State 78 78 39.3 .428 .323 .789 4.9 4.2 1.6 .6 18.9
1996–97 Golden State 80 79 41.9 .449 .354 .843 4.6 6.3 1.7 .6 24.2
1997–98 Golden State 14 13 39.1 .397 .188 .745 3.6 4.9 1.4 .4 21.4
1998–99 New York 37 4 33.3 .415 .273 .812 4.2 2.5 1.2 .1 16.4
1999–00 New York 82 82 40.0 .435 .346 .866 4.3 4.0 1.3 .3 18.6
2000–01 New York 77 77 39.2 .430 .304 .783 4.5 3.5 1.4 .4 17.7
2001–02 New York 81 81 41.1 .404 .360 .821 3.7 3.9 1.2 .2 19.4
2002–03 New York 74 73 38.6 .403 .372 .794 3.9 4.5 1.4 .3 16.4
2003–04 Minnesota 82 82 37.8 .409 .331 .814 3.8 3.5 1.1 .3 16.8
2004–05 Minnesota 80 79 30.6 .414 .327 .830 3.2 2.2 .7 .3 12.8
Career 913 868 38.6 .425 .337 .804 4.1 4.0 1.4 .4 18.3
All–Star 4 1 19.3 .486 .125 .529 3.8 2.5 1.3 .0 11.0


1994 Golden State 3 3 40.7 .433 .348 .667 3.0 7.0 .7 1.0 22.7
1999 New York 20 8 37.2 .419 .160 .850 4.8 2.2 1.0 .3 20.4
2000 New York 16 16 43.8 .414 .333 .784 4.4 3.6 1.1 .3 18.7
2001 New York 5 5 42.4 .407 .214 .760 3.0 3.4 1.0 .2 18.4
2004 Minnesota 18 18 42.8 .421 .385 .779 4.4 4.0 1.6 .7 19.8
Career 62 50 41.1 .418 .330 .803 4.3 3.4 1.2 .4 19.7

Personal life[]

In October 1994, Sprewell's four–year old daughter was mauled in the family backyard by one of two pet pit bulls, having an ear bitten off and suffering bites to her face.

Legal issues[]

On August 30, 2006, Milwaukee police investigated a claim by a 21–year-old female that she and Sprewell were having consensual sex aboard his yacht when Sprewell began to strangle her. Police allegedly observed red marks on her neck. Police investigating the allegation searched Sprewell's yacht for evidence. On September 6, police declined to press charges. Sprewell then sought a restraining order along with "civil remedies" against the accuser.

On January 31, 2007, Sprewell's long–term companion sued him for $200 million for ending their relationship agreement. She claimed Sprewell agreed to support her and their four children through college.

On August 22, 2007, Sprewell's $1.5 million 70 ft (21 m) yacht was repossessed by a federal marshal. He had failed to continue paying for and insuring the vessel, for which he reportedly still owed approximately $1.3 million. In February 2008, the yacht was auctioned for $856,000 after Sprewell defaulted on the mortgage. Three months later, a Milwaukee–area home Sprewell owned went into foreclosure status. In July 2009, a Westchester County, New York mansion Sprewell owned went into foreclosure status, but that action was dismissed on motion of another party's attorney.

In 2011, Sprewell owed the state of Wisconsin $3.5 million in unpaid income taxes. On January 1, 2013, he was arrested for disorderly conduct after police received numerous complaints about loud music.

On September 8, 2017, Sprewell was involved in an altercation in a Milwaukee bar with Alexander Schenk. The altercation was broken up by local officers, and a citation was made to both parties.