Sunday, April 25, 2010

Griz great sparks fight in stands

Posted by on Sun, Apr 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Michael Ray Richardson, arguably the best Griz basketball player in program history and someone not unfamiliar with controversy, is currently coaching the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry in something called the Premier Basketball League. (It's what's left of the now defunct and once-proud CBA, which had teams in Butte and Great Falls as recently as 2008.)

On Friday night, Richardson was ejected at the end of the first game of the PBL finals and got into it with fans as he left the court (see video below). Just as he was entering the tunnel to the locker room, a fan tossed a water bottle that hit Richardson in the back, and then things got truly nutty. Cavalry players, including rotund former NBA player Oliver Miller (!), stormed the stands in defense of their coach, leading to Miller shoving a fan in the chest. He's since been suspended, and others, including Richardson, have been fined.

Richardson is best known, unfortunately, as the first player to receive a lifetime ban from the NBA for substance abuse. He's since been reinstated by the league and become a spokesman against drug abuse, and has actually had a successful run with the Cavalry, winning two straight CBA championships before reaching this year's PBL finals. That success, however, continues to be overshadowed by off-court incidents like the one on Friday.

This post was updated at 7:59 p.m.

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