Former NBA player Corey Benjamin apologized on behalf of his teenage daughter Thursday after she punched a 15-year-old during an Orange County youth basketball tournament last weekend. The ex-Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks guard told NBC LA "this is not how I raised my daughter."
Benjamin's daughter struck an unsuspecting Lauryn Ham with a vicious left hook seconds after taking a three-point shot. Ham didn't give Benjamin's daughter room to land on the jumper, causing them both to fall after the play.
The victim's mother, Alice, says the punch gave her daughter a concussion. She filed a police report and plans to seek prosecutions for both the attacker and her mother, who allegedly encouraged the punch. A referee told Ham's mother the attacker's mother said, "You better go hit her," according to NBCLA.
"The most shocking and outrageous part is to hear the mother instruct her daughter to go hit her for that, and that's unfathomable," said Kevin Hahn, Lauryn Ham's attorney.
The officials ejected Benjamin's daughter and ended the game after the punch, according to the attacker's coach. Ham's mother told NBC LA Benjamin's daughter swung at two other players in September.
Benjamin didn't attend the game, but he gave a lengthy apology on his daughter's behalf to try and make peace between the parties involved.
"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," said Benjamin, a former first-round pick who played four seasons with the Bulls and Hawks. "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. I am here for your family and wish only the best for you.
"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. My daughter made a mistake. One that she will need to make right. I am committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct."
It might take more than an apology to rectify the situation.
"Well, that's a start," Hahn told NBC LA. "I mean we want the parties responsible to be held accountable."