Houston Rockets 1977-78 Roster and Stats. Now that I’ve talked to other people, I understand Rudy wasn’t going to fight. The blow, which Lakers’ star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would later compare to the sound of a melon being dropped on concrete, would leave Tomjanovich unconscious in a pool of blood on the court. I knew they would go by the severity of Rudy’s injuries, but this is ridiculous.  In August 1994, Washington accompanied a team of doctors and nurses on a humanitarian mission to Goma, Zaire, working in a refugee camp for people fleeing the Rwandan Civil War. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. " He led the nation in rebounding again in his senior season. Heck, I’ve only been in three fights in five years and I never started any of them.”. , Los Angeles had acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Washington's style of play complemented him, as Abdul-Jabbar was not an especially physical player. A big defensive forward, Washington was known for his ability to gather rebounds. , Newell was the person to bring Washington out of the despair Kermit felt when he heard his playing career was probably over.  The only person who contacted them was Newell. It was an honest, unfortunate mistake.”, Houston Coach Tom Nissalke said, “It was the most malicious thing I’ve ever seen in basketball. Desperate to improve, he contacted Pete Newell at the recommendation of an agent. The events that precipitated the fight have been frequently debated, and variously interpreted. Tomjanovich was taken to Centinela Hospital Medical Center. Newell is often seen as a kind, gentlemanly person, who is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the game of basketball. “A careful review of the game, reports from officials and statements from witnesses persuaded me to take this action.”. Paul, who later claimed that Rondo spit on him, put his finger in Rondoâs face and shoved.  His acceptance was aided by a glowing article Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe wrote on the player after researching his life and spending some time with him. Last playoff meeting: This is the first meeting between the 76ers and the Trail Blazers. Kermit Washington's mother Barbara graduated from Miner's Teacher's College (later subsumed into Howard University); his father Alexander was an X-ray technician.  Two months earlier, on opening night of the season, the Lakers played the Milwaukee Bucks. Houston Rockets 1977-78 Roster and Stats.  Washington also had played in a primarily zone defense system in college and was not versed in man-to-man defense, which is more common in the NBA.  His parents soon divorced, with his father awarded custody of the children. This was the Detroit Pistons last playoff appearance of the decade and their last as a Western Conference team as they would move to the East in 1978. Washington, as a regional representative for the National Basketball Players Association, referred NBA players to San Diego attorney Ronald Mix, who then made donations to the charity, but were actually illegal referral payments. The Trail Blazers went 10-0 at home in the playoffs. Find out more. , On-court fights had been all too common in the 1970s, often including bench-clearing brawls. How to tie-dye clothes the retro way & turn on the colors! New York — NBA Commissioner Larry O’Brien levied one of the stiffest penalties in sports history Monday, fining Kermit Washington $10,000 and suspending the Los Angeles Lakers forward for at least 60 days for punching Houston’s Rudy Tomjanovich last week. Subscribe to our Free Newsletter, This Week in Sports ReferenceFind out when we add a feature or make a change. , longest suspension for an on-court incident in NBA history, List of NCAA Division I men's basketball season rebounding leaders, Inside the N.B.A. Our reasoning for presenting offensive logos. Tomjanovich, who had been trying to break up a fight between Washington and Houston’s Kevin Kunnert when he was struck, remained in intensive care at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, California, with a broken jaw and nose plus a concussion.  Kunnert testified during the trial and contradicted Washington's testimony, angrily branding him a liar.  Washington was named an academic All-American his junior year. The restaurant closed in 2001. Last playoff meeting: This is the first meeting between the Celtics and the Spurs.  Washington became more extroverted in college, so much so that he later said his life could be separated into two parts—his pre-college life and his life after college.  A lot of the emergence of Washington's personality is credited to Pat, who encouraged him to be more outgoing and overcome his low self-esteem. Malone finished with 15 rebounds and Abdul-Jabbar wound up with only seven, two in the second half. Do you have a sports website? , Washington started alongside Hall of Fame center Dave Cowens, who enjoyed playing with Washington, remarking, "It's great fun, you can always hear him grunt when he's rebounding. " However, he again felt unwanted this time by his stepmother. Lamovsky, Jesse, Rosetti, Matthew, & DeMarco, Charlie.  There remained a mostly quiet discord between the two as Washington felt Kunnert never properly acknowledged his role in the fight.. Tomjanovich rejected the idea.. (1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (3) Portland Trail Blazers: Blazers win series 4–2. Calvin Murphy scored 28 points for the Rockets and John Lucas added 20 for the Rockets. Tomjanovich says that he became aggressive and asked Washington why he punched him.  The organization felt he had the requisite physical skills, so they ascribed his failure to excel to mental deficiencies. , Washington received no support from the Lakers front office, aside from a single call the day after the fight from Cooke, and was sent torrents of hate mail filled with racial epithets. We have tools and resources that can help you use sports data. Two high-profile veterans, Richie Powers and Earl Strom, did not honor the strike and stayed on the job. That means the suspension alone will cost him at least $43,560.  However, Tom Davis hired him as an assistant coach at Stanford, and Davis wanted to bring him to Iowa when he went to coach there.  He marveled at newspaper reports in the Washington Post that mentioned "coaches of opposing teams and how they were planning to stop Kermit Washington. She pursued him even though he often remained silent when she spent time with him. “He still doesn’t want to talk to anybody,” Dr Toffel said.  His wife, Pat, stayed behind as the couple had two young children, and Washington would be staying in a hotel. , Washington shared time at the Trail Blazers power forward spot with Maurice Lucas at first, but after Lucas' trade to the New Jersey Nets, he became the full-time starter. The split lip required nine stitches. After the two disengaged, Washington grabbed Kunnert's shorts in order to prevent him from getting back over on offense quickly. Who had these old Betty Crocker Storybook Dinnerware sets in the ’70s & ’80s? Data Provided By  Both Washington and Abdul-Jabbar reject this account. You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest, plus see exclusive retro-inspired products in our shop. Tomjanovich had 19 points before the fight, which occurred 48 seconds into the third quarter.  He reworked Washington's game from the ground up, and in so doing established a name for himself as a tremendous coach of big men—he would later conduct a yearly "Big Man Camp" in Hawaii which was attended by hundreds of NBA players. Logos were compiled by the amazing SportsLogos.net.  "It was a sad, sad sight", Washington later recalled, "a sight I'll never forget. The Lakers were led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 32 points. Kermit Alan Washington (born September 17, 1951) is an American former professional basketball player.  To solve this problem, he and John Y. “The stringent penalty reflects the severity of Washington’s actions on the court,” O’Brien said.  He scheduled the practices very early in the morning to test Washington's dedication, thinking a professional athlete would not bother to get up at that hour every day. I don’t enforce anything.  His stay with his father did not last long, and he and his brother were passed around to various relatives on both sides of the family. That December night in Los Angeles seemed like no exception to the rule, as the Houston Rockets’ Kevin Kunnert and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kermit Washington began scuffling after a particularly physical battle for a rebound.  He was offered an invite to try for the 1972 Olympic basketball team after the season, but did not make the squad.  After some rare positive feedback by his biology teacher, Barbara Thomas, he began to study and put forth a greater effort in that class.  When Thomas became his home room teacher and saw his grades in other classes she encouraged him to try hard in all of his courses. Washington yelled something inaudible about Kunnert, and they were broken up by two security personnel. In the last game of his college career, Washington needed to score 39 points to average 20 points and 20 rebounds a game for his career in college. We present them here for purely educational purposes. " Reporters heard the sound of the punch all the way in the second floor press box, and some rushed to the playing floor in disbelief. Washington was not a highly coveted player coming out of high school and barely got into college on an athletic scholarship.  This became the second time Washington and Kunnert were part of the same trade. The 1977 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1976–77 season.The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.It was Portland's first (and so far, only) NBA title. Nothing he could say or do was going to change the way people perceived him because of that moment.