The mother of a teenage girl who launched a vicious attack on a basketball opponent could face up to one year in jail after being criminally charged in California over accusations that she provoked the violent scenes.
The teenage attacker, who was later revealed to be the daughter of former NBA player Corey Benjamin, was seen sucker-punching a 15-year-old rival during a November 7 game in Garden Grove.
Footage of the incident went viral and prompted former Chicago Bulls guard Benjamin to say he was “shocked and disappointed” at his daughter’s behavior.
Garden Grove CA teen with the sucker punch. pic.twitter.com/j997f0bYkY
— Bridge at Remagen (@supertracpak) November 10, 2021
The victim was identified as 15-year-old Lauryn Ham, who was left with a bruised neck and concussion.
In the wake of the attack, Ham’s mother said that the perpetrator had been encouraged from the sidelines by a parent to strike her daughter after a seemingly innocuous on-court collision.
A clip of the scene appeared to capture someone on the sidelines saying “you better hit her for that.”
The Orange County DA has announced it has charged Latira Shonty Hunt, 44, with one count each of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and battery – both misdemeanors – for allegedly provoking the attack from her daughter.
If found guilty, Hunt could face one year in jail.
“It is unconscionable that a parent would encourage her child to engage in violence during a sporting event,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
“Youth sports are invaluable in teaching our children discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship. But a win at all costs mentality that is completely devoid of fair play, respect, and civility is disgusting.”
Hunt and Benjamin’s daughter has not been named as she is a minor and is not facing any charges. However, she has been banned from competing permanently by the league.
After footage of the attack on Ham went viral, more clips emerged of separate incidents in which Hunt and Benjamin’s daughter – who played for Los Angeles-based team Dream Academy – was seen brawling with rivals on court.