Throughout his 13-year NBA career, Latrell Sprewell was an aggressive player on the basketball court. He never backed down from his opponents, and he always made the court his playground. Yet, when he arrived in New York, choking his head coach wasn't the first thing the Knicks wanted to address.
It was hard to put into words
When the Golden State Warriors shipped Sprewell to the New York Knicks in 1998, fans were still buzzing about his infamous choking incident with his former coach P.J. Carlesimo. For obvious reasons, it was one of the things he and the Knicks organization talked about when Sprewell arrived in New York.
However, during an interview with The New York Post in 1999, Spree revealed that apart from the choking controversy, one of the first things the Knicks asked him about was the horrifying incident involving his daughter and their pit bull.
According to Sprewell, his daughter was attacked by their dog, and “her right ear was totally taken off.” At the time, the four-time All-Star found it hard to talk about it because of the pain it caused, and he didn’t want people to know about it.
“I was able to answer it. But, you know, it’s been some time now,” Sprewell said of the incident. “At that time, I just didn’t want people going up and trying to find out what happened. Because her right ear was totally taken off and so many things were happening.”
“It was difficult for my family,” he added. “And I had to put the dog to sleep, unfortunately. It was really serious so I didn’t want the media just going to the hospital and trying to get cameras all in their faces. I thought that she just needed to be left alone. Because, you know, she’s scarred for life. So I just wanted the media to leave her alone at that point.”
Sprewell admitted that though he loved their dog, he “just couldn’t accept having it back after what had happened.”
Like any other strong-willed athlete would do, Sprewell decided to move on. Instead, he dealt with the pain the best way he knew how: to play exceptional basketball. In his maiden season in New York, he averaged 16.4 points per game and immediately became a pillar of the Knicks squad that empathically reached the NBA Finals in 1999.