Ex-NBA star Benjamin ‘shocked & disappointed’ for teenage daughter’s punch in viral clip (VIDEO)
Corey Benjamin, a former player with NBA outfit the Chicago Bulls, has issued an apology after it emerged his teenage daughter was responsible for the viral punch which marred a basketball game in Southern California last week.
A 15-year-old player was sucker-punched by an opponent during a youth club basketball tournament last Sunday, allegedly on instructions from her mother after a fractious exchange on the court.
Footage of the incident has traversed social media in the hours and days which followed, appearing to detail how the offending player's mother ordered her daughter to assert herself during the game, saying: "You've got to hit her for it."
Hit her she did, knocking her rival – later identified as Lauryn Ham – to the ground with the blow as other parents could be heard reacting in horror.
Garden Grove CA teen with the sucker punch. pic.twitter.com/j997f0bYkY— Bridge at Remagen 🇺🇸🚁 (@supertracpak) November 10, 2021
Reacting online, Ham's mother Alice wrote: "THIS… this right here makes me SICK to my stomach. This happened to MY DAUGHTER at her game yesterday.
"There is absolutely no place for something like this in basketball, I don’t care how famous you are!!
"This mom told her daughter to 'go and hit her' and my kid gets an unprovoked sucker punch. I’m sorry but it’s everything that’s wrong with youth sports.
"The girl and her mom showed absolutely no remorse and offered no apology. Youth sports needs to change."
It has since emerged that the player who threw the punch is the daughter of former Chicago Bull Corey Benjamin, a guard who scored 835 points in a ten-year NBA career. He has now broken his silence over the incident with a statement to the Associated Press.
"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," said Benjamin.
"Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires."
Ham was treated for concussion and injuries to her chin and throat in the aftermath of the clash and has been absent from school since the incident. It is understood that an official complaint has been made to local police.
"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," added Benjamin.
"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."