Thursday, August 4, 2011
Updated: August 6, 4:14 AM ET
Michael Beasley shoves fan in face
By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- The latest stop on Kevin Durant's tour of the New York City streetball scene nearly turned ugly on Thursday night when fellow pro Michael Beasley got into an argument with a heckling fan and pushed him in the face with an open hand.
An irate Beasley was restrained by tournament security as the game at the Dyckman Tournament in Washington Heights was delayed for approximately 10 minutes.
Many at the game were taken aback by the Minnesota Timberwolves forward's animated reaction to the crowd's taunts.
"He has to know he's going to hear (heckling) up here," said one tournament official. "Doesn't he know he can get sued for doing that?"
Shortly after the game, Oklahoma City Thunder star Durant tweeted, "Yo dyckman was too crazy ... I had fun but we lost ... my time in new york was cool ... "
With Beasley facing off against Durant, things got heated early in the second half when Beasley started jawing with a group of heckling fans, at one point yelling "I get paid for this!" toward the group.
He then approached one fan and shoved him in the face. Security guards stepped in to diffuse the situation. Shortly after "mushing" the fan in the face, Beasley approached him again to shake his hand, but the interaction escalated and Beasley had to be restrained by security.
"He was a little wild," said KaBourn Crosley, the coach of Team 914, on which Beasley played. "I couldn't stop him."
The shoving incident marred what was an otherwise spectacular scene at Monsignor Kett Park in Washington Heights.
In front of a standing-room-only crowd (which stood for most of the game), Durant finished with 29 points and Beasley had 17 as Beasley's Team 914 beat Durant's Team Nike, 80-77. Fans hung on fences and sat in trees outside of the park to get a glimpse of the two NBA players.
"The atmosphere was crazy, the crowd was prolific," said veteran announcer Joe Pope.
Thursday's game was just the latest stop on the New York City streetball circuit for Durant.
On Monday night, Durant scored an astounding 66 points in an Entertainers Basketball Classic game at Harlem's Rucker Park. On Tuesday, he added 41 in a game at the Nike Pro City tournament at Baruch College in Manhattan.
Video highlights of Durant's work at Rucker Park dominated the airwaves Tuesday and highlights of his alley-oop dunk in the Nike Pro City Game appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter."
Durant struggled at with his outside shot on Thursday but added three more dunks -- two on alley oops -- to his streetball highlight tape. The performance, however, did little to overshadow Beasley's run-in with the fan.
Said Pope: "Michael Beasley was untamable."
Adris De Leon, a neighborhood legend known as "2 Hard 2 Guard" and who plays for Team Nike, thought Beasley was out of line for going after the fan. De Leon said that playing in that type of atmosphere, you have to be ready to be taunted by the fans.
"He did disrespect him a lot," De Leon said of Beasley's shoving.
Ian Begley is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.