ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Emotions ran high during The Enchantment’s second round TBT matchup against Heartfire. There was plenty of trash talking, pushing and shoving, heck even spitting on each other, however the crowning moment of the night was when longtime NBA standout and current Heartfire coach LaPhonso Ellis got ejected.
The play came in the second quarter when a shoving match escalated to some pretty harsh words being tossed around. Coaches from both teams came on the floor to resolve the situation, then Ellis shoved Joe Furstinger of The Enchantment. The incident was captured on camera and shown on the video boards, and fans began chanting to eject Ellis, which he promptly was.
“I’m ashamed of my behavior, yet I’m grateful for the way these guys went out and fought,” Ellis said. “My greatest concern is that my behavior would’ve been a distraction and a detriment to what they were trying to do out there. I’ve asked for their forgiveness, and I’ve asked for the forgiveness of those who were involved in the team that we were playing against. I’m just grateful that my guys were able to fight.”
The Enchantment didn’t want to give too much attention to the situation from their side. While it was definitely upsetting, they only wanted to focus on the game.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t call a foul on [the play], but aside from that, yeah, I don’t think any coaches should do that. I’m sure he apologized and stuff, but I don’t think it changed the game. The game was high intensity at the time, it’s going to be a high-intensity game. People want to win.”
Ellis was drafted number five overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1992 NBA draft and proceeded to have an NBA career that spanned over a decade. He was named to the NBA all-rookie team in 1993, and he is in the Notre Dame Ring of Honor.