There was chaos at Crypto.Com Arena on Saturday afternoon [AEDT] as Fox Sports personality and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe sparked a heated altercation with several Memphis Grizzlies players.
Sharpe had to be escorted from the floor by security and spent halftime inside the arena’s tunnel before re-emerging to his seat in the third quarter of Memphis’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The altercation took place right after the halftime buzzer, with the TV personality claiming a verbal jab directed at Dillon Brooks was behind the chaotic scenes.
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“They didn’t want this smoke,” Sharpe said to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“They do all that talking and jockeying and I ain’t about that jockeying. It started with Dillon Brooks. I said he was too small to guard LeBron. He said, ‘F***’ me. I said, ‘F*** you’ back. He started to come at me and I said, ‘You don’t want these problems’.
“And then Ja came out of nowhere talking. He definitely didn’t want these problems. Then the dad came and he obviously didn’t want no problems. But I wanted anything they had. Don’t let these fools fool you now.”
Sharpe was seen yelling at Grizzlies star Ja Morant before Kiwi teammate Steven Adams stepped in and exchanged words with the former NFL player.
Tensions only continued to boil over as Morant’s father Tee got involved, with the two feuding parties separated.
Sharpe reportedly yelled “I bet you won’t” in Tee Morant’s direction as he was pulled away.
Speaking in broadcast after halftime, Mark Jackson said the altercation was proof of just how close the Grizzlies as a team are, even if it was “nothing” in his opinion.
“You see Steven Adams comes over to protect his guy along with the supporting cast and then Shannon Sharpe [is] still talking and Tee Morant, Ja Morant’s dad comes over,” Jackson said.
“I had an opportunity to talk to Tee Morant and he said, ‘My blood pressure didn’t go up a bit, nothing but love and respect for Shannon Sharpe. Just a bunch of guys talking a bunch of trash’.
“The good thing you see is everyone is in building still in their seat but we have to be better collectively. I’ll tell you what, it showed you the togetherness of the Memphis Grizzlies. There was a bunch of guys who had nothing to do with it but wasn’t going to sit back and watch. Even though it was nothing, they did nothing together.”
Grizzlies reporter Damichael Cole described it as “absolute madness” while NBA writer Sami Amico called it “wild”.
Tee Morant and Sharpe were later captured making up on the court, putting any potential bad blood from the situation aside.
Brooks though was quoted telling reporters post-game that Sharpe should not have been allowed back in the arena.
“A regular pedestrian like him? No. He shouldn’t have ever came back in the game. But it’s LA,” he said.
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