Out of Bounds Rick Mahorn: Will the Fight Between Candace Parker and Plenette Pierson Change the Scope of the WNBA?

Detroit Basketball

A change is gonna come, but don’t compare this to the Detroit/Indiana “brawl”. If you do, that’s irresponsible. This is the WNBA not the NBA

As I write this in my best attempt to stay clear of being judge and jury, a fight occurred during a basketball game in a familiar venue. If the Palace at Auburn Hills rings a bell, then you must understand that there has been one too many fights in this Detroit suburb.

The Los Angeles Sparks overcame a bench clearing brawl (5 seconds remaining in the game), and 4 ejections (Candace Parker, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Pienette Pierson, and Rick Mahorn) for a 84-81 victory over the Detroit Shock.

The women’s professional game will change forever as a direct result of this contest. Title IX has nothing on this late game melee because under no circumstances is it ever the right thing to do, when a man puts his hands on a woman. Sporting event or otherwise, Rick Mahorn was wrong when he, in the name of peace, pushed Lisa Leslie to the floor. His entire NBA career I am sure helped him get into the coaching box, and it is his NBA rep that will unravel him out of his current position. Things happen throughout the course of a game, and somethings should never happen.

Out of Bounds

Mahorn falls from grace

This is a sad time for sports, and all we can do is watch and wait, as the powers that be and time, decide the aftermath in this battle of the sexes. The role of men in the women’s game might be altered from the number of male coaches, to referees, and or team managers and the like. This is a red-letter date in the WNBA, and the trickle down theory has already begun, as Rick Mahorn and Lisa Leslie will forever be linked in basketball infamy, not like Kermit and Rudy, but not unlike Ike and Tina.

I’m sure they’ll be better video available in the morning, but for the moment, this will do.

*Addendum: I have strong feelings against men coaching women when so many women are qualified. If there is no alternative, then no problem, but women need proper soul models just as much as men. God bless you Rick, but you violated here. The most unfortunate thing to come of all of this is that Cheryl Ford might have injured her knee badly by playing the peacemaker. In an American Roman Coliseum kinda way, this may be what the WNBA needs. CP3=KB24. Thanks for puttin’ in work and posting this asap AXG. Get that star my brotha. This is what reporting is all about.



The most known unknown.

42 Responses to “Out of Bounds Rick Mahorn: Will the Fight Between Candace Parker and Plenette Pierson Change the Scope of the WNBA?”

  1. […] The Starting Five seems to think Rick Mahorn’s decision to push Lisa Leslie to the ground will have harsh implications. The skirmish started moments after Candace Parker and Detroit’s Cheryl Ford had to be […]

  2. kos says:

    Rick Mahorn was in the wrong here. No way to defend his actions. I’m expecting a significant suspension for him. He’s expressed a desire to be an NBA head coach, but with this happening, he can probably kiss that dream goodbye.

    I’m sure something will come out of this as far as men’s roles in the women’s game. You may see a reduction in the number of men’s coaches and referees in the WNBA. I actually don’t mind. As stated above, I also believe that there should be more opportunities for women to coach in the WNBA. There are many capable women out there that could motivate their teams without resorting to bad cop, good cop (Laimbeer, Mahorn) routine. Pokey Chatman perhaps?

  3. ronglover says:

    Way to be on top of this AG, I’ve tried to view it from your version, I even tried to youtube a couple but each time Mahorn and Leslie get close the camera cuts away. But from the photo she had to be shoved, the commentators said that Mahorn was trying to separate her from the fight and she lost her balance.

    She’s 7ft tall and a world class athlete, I don’t think she loses her balance that easily. Actually in this case I believe the still shot photos gives us a better view.

  4. Okori says:

    Kos: Pokey Chatman got fired from LSU because of accusations that she was sleeping with one of her own players. That is not a coach anyone is hiring anytime soon. C. Vivian Stringer is a good choice though. But Pokey Chatman is going to have to explain long and hard if the allegations were true, because if they were, she can’t coach a women’s team.

  5. rashad says:

    Hampton University’s own Rick Mahorn really disappointed me as a fellow alum. His big ass needed to stay on the bench, regardless of how much of a peacemaker he thought he was. And I am offended that on Sportscenter this morning, this was not even in the top 3 stories. The lead off with

    What part of the game is that??

  6. kos says:

    Sorry, forgot for a moment that Chatman wasn’t Nancy Lieberman and could get away with it. C. Vivian Stringer or Dawn Staley would be good choices. Stringer seems to love the college game, and I can’t see her leaving it. I can’t see Staley going any time soon, as she just got named University of South Carolina coach this year.

    I’m not surprised that it didn’t lead off Sportscenter. With Favre still in limbo, there was no way that a story on the WNBA was going to get on the program before that. Also, ESPN still believes that no one is interested in the WNBA.

  7. Great post, AG. Indeed, there will be repercussions. Especially since the commissioner of this league is David Stern, who is known to overreact to incidents like this. No doubt he will lay down the law harshly, and probably introduce new measurements. I would bet at least one of the new rules will deal directly with the Mahorn issue… whether it’s a limit to male coaches, or more likely, a limit to male coach’s ability to touch female players during altercation. Sort of like a WNBA version of “you can’t leave the bench during a fight” – male coaches might earn automatic suspensions if they get involved in WNBA altercations….

  8. the voice of reason says:

    If you watch the video, Lisa Leslie was freakin out when Mahorn tried to break up the fight and flailed her arm in a punch like motion. She was off-balanced and it was a lot easier for her to fall down because of that. Mahorn did nothing wrong. Leslie was grabbing at Mahorn’s player, Katie Smith, and Mahorn was simply getting her away from his player and Leslie was out of control and fell down.

  9. Jdubb says:

    Wow, really…Rick Mahorn in the wrong, I don’t think so. It should not matter what players he was trying to break up. He was trying to break it up. It looks more like Leslie was going all crazy with the arms, she would have gotten the push too.
    This is on Leslie as much as anyone else. it’s silly to think she was not capable of losing balance. I also like how many are just taking Leslie side in all this.

  10. Mizzo says:

    Because she’s an ambassador for the league and youth. Her reputation precedes her.

  11. maital says:

    reputation? huh? Lisa Leslie might be a mom, but she is a tough and nasty player. You can go back to the 200 Olympics, where the seasoned pro beat up on teenage Lauren Jackson who was outplaying and outclassing her.

    Fights are reprehensible, obviously, it shouldn’t ever happen.

    But everyone is carrying on as if a bunch of nuns got ambushed by the hell’s angels or something. It’s pretty sexist to be all aghast at the poor lil ladies having a scrap. These are tough aggressive women, and they can dish it and they can take it. They wouldn’t be where they are otherwise.

  12. Mizzo says:

    Who the heck said anything remotely what you are portraying?

    All I personally said was men shouldn’t be involved. Are women in the NBA?

    Lisa Leslie is the embodiment of class.

    Forget whatcha heard…

  13. jsmith323 says:

    Watch other videos, Leslie clearly swung her arms first in a way that would require Mahorn to push her away from him and his player. She simply fell from her own momentum and the natural, defensive “push” from Mahorn. Hopefully this doesn’t affect him too badly. There’s a reason that this wasn’t a bigger story: nobody (rightly) cares about the WNBA. Here’s to hoping the NBA subsidies soon end and natural selection will soon bring an end to this “league” (Cue natural selection jokes about me).

  14. Uncontainable Spirit says:

    I am consistently amazed by the desire… nay… demand to continue to be victims that some women display. First of all… Rick Mahorn is 6’8″ and over 300 lbs… if he wanted to push someone down… there would be a serious problem. I look at how the media is playing this… saying that the 6’8″ 300 lb Mahorn ‘slammed’ the 36 yo ‘mother’ to the ground. WHAT? Surely you cannot be serious. You ladies simply need to close your mouths. He was trying to break up the fight. Plain and simple…. he was trying to break up a fight that ‘women’ started. Let’s not forget that. He’s a father. He has 4 daughters. Do you think that if he really wanted to wreak havoc that havoc wouldn’t have been wreaked? I mean get real. And as for having women coaches and the like… GTFOH! The WNBA is BARELY making it. There would BE no WNBA without the NBA or without men.

  15. JD says:

    Mahorn was being a peacemaker as he was in IND/DET fight. Also from my sources, who were in the arena LL threw a punch and that’s the reason for the push and fall by LL. But as usual, it is in fashion to bash Detroit. Have fun with this one.

  16. bballluv says:

    I believe Mahorn inadvertently pushed Lisa, he is a rather BIG man and pound-for-pound Lisa is a buck-o-five soak and wet, not to mention the obvious adreneline behind the push.

    To me, the main player in this is Plenette. She should definitely get the worse end of the stick and I’m no fan of either team. Actually, I have never liked LA since the Comet days, but Plenette’s actions were uncalled for. When she was on the free throw line she knew she was going to try and take Candace out. It aint that much blocking out, hip checking in world. And, if anyone had someone run up on them like she did Candace….come on, you’d slam her butt to the ground too, or sit there like a fool to analyze just how mad plenette really is before your instinct kicked in to defend yourself? Think about, there’s no time for analyzing…..your natural instinct is to defend yourself, which is what Candace was doing. She deserved to get slammed when she chose to run up on her like that. Rookie or no Rookie……Shake them haters off Candace.

  17. nate says:

    Bottom Line, take a LOOK at the refs and the lady in the suits face when they see that Rick has pushed Lisa.

    In the picture, she hasn’t even fallen yet and the look on their face say it all.

    ‘hey, thats not cool’

    am i right? or do pictures lie?

    I know Lisa Leslie and she is genuine and classy.

  18. I think there are plenty of qualified women out there to coach in the WNBA — there’s just one problem: women’s college basketball is a bigger deal than the WNBA. There are six-figure salaries and sold out stadiums in the college game. Title IX has allowed for there to be parity and the sport is flurished. Meanwhile, WNBA players are defecting to Russia earn a payday (hmmm… maybe that’s where Josh Childress got the idea).

  19. jsmith323 says:

    Oh great idea Nate, let’s look at still photos for reference rather than the actual video. If you did that you could catch people “making” all sorts of weird faces, etc. that didn’t actually represent the situation in full context. Pictures don’t lie but it is foolish to rely on them to tell the whole story when we have the VIDEO!!! C’mon man, have some common sense. I’m glad you know Lisa Leslie to be a classy person, but that doesn’t negate the fact that she was flailing her arms at Mahorn like a crazy person and rightfully was rebuffed in a manner that unfortunately caused her to fall to the floor. I wish this didn’t happen, but it was her fault.

  20. sr says:

    If you’re goingto defend your player then put your hands on your player…not a player from the opposing team. Can you imagine if an asst. coach from the Celtics laid their hands on Kobe Bryant of LA?? Lisa was on the floor at the time and was clearly not throwing punches. He left his bench to get involved. He should have controlled his bench. Let women handle women and if there is a male coach…protect your own team. That is where Rick was in the wrong. I highly doubt he thought…protect the integrity of the game in that heated scuffle. Thankful no punches were thrown. Shouldn’t be that harsh of a penalty. It could have gotten worse and it’s the only brawl in 12yrs of the league. Maybe now they’ll know how to handle it in the future. I mean the game has changed, players have changed…it’s not a bunch of girls in skirts playing in a “league of their own”. If that were the case…why are ex nba guys trying to get into coaching them. Just b/c they’re women doesn’t mean they’re not competitors. Glad they are getting some attention just hope it doesn’t hurt the league. Maybe now people will realize the league is getting more competitive!!!

  21. boney says:

    It doesn’t matter if this “fight” happened in Detroit, LA, Houston, etc. To start off a commentary saying “1 fight too many” in reference to Auburn Hills is irresponsible and unfair to the residents of Auburn Hills and the teams that play there. One man instigated the “malice in the palace” and now for whatever reason a black cloud has remained over the entire area as if fights just happen there, all the time.

    So, Mahorn can’t try to break up the fight? Men aren’t allowed to leave the bench to try and break up the fight?

    Just because Lisa Leslie is genuine and classy off the court doesn’t mean she’s not intense on the court. Wow she’s a mother to a child… As if NBA players who get in fights aren’t fathers to children.

    Another thing:

    Why should this leadoff on Sportscenter? The league has reached a point where it is irrelevant. So much so that people don’t even know who the commissioner of the league is, and she’s held the position since 2005.

    The height of popularity in women’s basketball was 11 years ago, and the NBA capitalized on it. The league cannot sell out an arena, the tv ratings remain low, and the interest in women’s basketball just isn’t there.

    I agree with Mizzo, I think if more women were involved in the sport, it could be more popular. But as you see, the Pat Summitts and Vivian Stringers of the world don’t want to leave the cushy college coaching positions while a lot of the players who could make the league even better are playing overseas, making more money.

    Why go and coach in Detroit or Indiana if you’re Vivian Stringer? You’d coach in a 20,000+ seat arena, where what, 2000 people maybe are there for a regular season game where home court advantage is non-existent.. or you could stay at Rutgers, play in a nearly full arena full of students and parents and have home court advantage and be worshipped like a god for winning a couple of championships?

    I’m sorry, as bad as I want to be a professional athlete or coach.. but I’d do what Vivian Stringer and Pat Summitt do too

  22. Gabby Hayes says:

    The whole incident was unfortunate, but it look like Mahorn was trying to break up the fight. It is too bad that Mahorn will be eventually made a scapegoat.

  23. Jdubb says:

    @Uncontainable Spirit

    I agree with you on that point. I am listening to how the media is playing it up and it is now big bad Mahorm throws mom to the ground. Now she is not an athlete anymore, a woman and a mom. To say she has class, no way gives her a golden pass here. 7 ft person man or woman all riled up on emotions swinging the arms wildly is going to cause some damage. she is lucky the fall was all she got.

  24. My 2 Cents says:

    I watched the game from start to finish. The refs sucked and kind of let this game get out of hand. Spare me the drama, L.A. ladies. Between Lisa Leslie crying and Candace Parker looking like she was about to cry too, all I can say is if you can’t take the heat on the hardwood floor, get out. In no way did Mahorn purposefully push Leslie to the ground, ambassador or not, she is a great actress!

  25. Code says:

    Alrite, heres the problem, women athletes cannnot cry and whine for equal treatment, get it, then as soon as a fight breaks out, throw out the gender card. Im sorry, but if they want to brawl like that and disgrace their sport in front of thousands in the crowd, other women and children included, maybe they do do need a firm punishment…I guess Mahorn should have sat by and done nothing, oh, and all the male officials and security guards also should have immediatley turned their backs as if nothing was happening

  26. BeinMiceElf says:

    Leslie did swing on Mahorn. You have to look close because of the camera angle (in the angle I’ve seen, the camera looks in from behind Mahorn, who is big enough to block out most of Leslie’s rather slender frame…), but it’s clear that her hand traces and arc and slips right by Mahorn’s head or face. It’s after that that Mahorn pushed her away from him. What was he supposed to do? He couldn’t let her just stand there and take more shots at him. He had a few choices, one being turning his back and walking away, but how realistic is that in the heat of all that was heppening? He simply pushed her away. Some hotheads would have swung back, or at least grabbed her arms and pinned them down at her sides. He did what seems like the gentlest of all possible choices. It doesn’t look good for him, obviously, but my question is, why was Leslie swinging on him? For all the class she apparently exudes, she didn’t seem very classy there. To my eyes, Michael Cooper was the only classy person in the whole affair. He seemed more interested in separating people and getting them off the court than anyone else did.

    People are over-reacting to this. The only real injury occurred away from the main body of the melee and it was non-contact. If anything, this fight generates heat and hype, two things the WNBA sorely needs, and don’t think David Stern isn’t saying the same thing privately. Maybe the WWE and ultimate fighting yahoos wil start tuning in…..

  27. GrandNubian says:

    I would have to agree that Rick Mahorn was trying to play “peacemaker” on this one. I know he had a reputation as a tough, physical guy when he played but on this one he was trying to do the right thing.

  28. TheLastPoet says:

    Elf-guy (and others),

    Leslie did not “swing on” big ass Mahorn. He tried to grab her, she swung her arms in an upward motion in order to break free, which she did, then he pushed her. Plain and simple. Check the tape.

    Leslie “swung on” nobody that night – or any night (including the pathetic reference to Lauren Jackson so many years ago) – but rather, like Mahorn, she too was trying to make peace.

    So why would Mahorn attempt to restrain her? Why not attempt to restrain his own players, as many have argued, including Leslie herself? If a fight breaks out between the Pistons and Lakers, and Michael Curry, who was an assistant coach last year, puts his hands on Kobe Bryant, everyone would question the move – and no one would have to appeal to Kobe’s “gender,” or his “status” as an “ambassador” or daddy in order to do so. Curry would be wrong prima facie for putting his hands on an opposing player. Well, so is Mahorn.

    Moreover, Elf-guy, you would excuse Mahorn behavior because you think Leslie “swung on” him? Well, she didn’t. But what if she did? You said he could (a) turn and walk away, (b) push her, (c) pin her arms to her side, or (c) swing back. Among these possibilities, (and (b) thru (d) seem increasingly misogynistic) you say the best choice is (b), which happens to be what Mahorn did, in order to “protect” himself (?).

    I say the best answer is (a), and sensible people would agree. Why? Becasue (1) If your aim is to make peace, then under no circumstances is pushing people a part of the equation – and if you are not able to refrain from pushing, or if, as some of you say, Mahorn’s “adrenalin” was pumping, then you are a poor candidate for peacemaking in this instance, you should keep your fat ass on the bench and sit this one out, (2) if you’re Rick Mahorn, then you’re 6-8 350lbs, and Lisa Leslie, aka “Bambi” or “Smooth,” is no threat to your physical person. If she does “swing on” you, so what? She can’t harm you, so let her wail away. Notice that Ms Milton-Jones, upon seeing his treatment of her teammate, sucker punched Mahorn in the back and pushed him. The man didn’t even budge! You saw that, right? Right?? Milton-Jones is very comparable in size to Leslie. So how could it have harmed him to allow Leslie to get a few licks off, if that was her intention (which, as I have established, it wasn’t)?

    Given these facts, those who maintain that Mahorn did the right thing are terribly misguided, in this case. He may be a good man, but bad things happen to good people all the time, and he was wrong here. Leslie was mistreated and “manhandled” by the alleged peacemaker. Shit happens.

    Now, if they suspend Ms Parker right before I get my chance to see her live in the Garden this Friday, well then I’ll really be pissed!

  29. Jerold Wells Jr. says:

    Before I get into any thoughts about the game and the scuffle I just want to say that sport has to sex. Men and women are competitors and if you haven’t had your ass busted by a woman at some point then you’re cheating yourself. I play ball and I’ve been caught by a crossover, beat on a backdoor cut, had a jumper wet in my eye, all by women in the league right now. The game is pure in the sense that it’s really now about size, strength, or athleticism. Sure it helps but if you can think the game you can be successful. Women’s ball isn’t boring it’s different. I have a sister playing college ball right now, and two others on the conveyor belt. They get down and see them develop has allowed me to see the game in new light.

    Men are necesary for the women’s game to grow because it’s a male dominated society. Male owners, coaches, trainers, scouts and the like are and should be apart of the game. It’s not feasible to say that since it’s a women’s game to turn every aspect of the game over to women. That’s unrealistic and spiteful. Sexual integration is a must but not to the detriment of women. If there is a platform for true equality in sports then let it be in the women’s game. Interview male and female candidates, a sort of Rooney Rule for women. Let qualified women have the opportunity to succeed.

    I watched the game, from start to finish, and the million replays of the so-called scuffle. So here we go:

    The refs need to be publicly reprimanded for letting this game get out of hand.

    Parker and Pierson (sp?) should be suspended. The most stringent of punishments for Pierson. One for going at the Franchise’s legs with a pointless and uncalled for super block out and then for instigating the fight after Parker hip tossed her. Sure Parker defended herself but on principle you suspend both parties.

    To my knowledge there’s no “leaving the bench” rule in the WNBA. As such, Mahorn should face no punishment. He didn’t shove, knock down, aggresively touch LL. He extended his arms in her direction but also in the direction of his players. He was trying to break up a bad situation. LL commented that she was trying to get to the Parker to help her so in that she did try to move Mahorns arms and she fell cause she’s light in the ass. She didn’t try to hit him but she made an aggressive move to remove his arms and fell.

    By far the saddest thing about this has to be the injury to Cheryl Ford. Again, trying to play peacemaker went wrong.

  30. jsmith323 says:

    Jerold, great post. I agree….

  31. […] (as he and many others involved claim) or if he became so caught up in the scrum that he actually purposely pushed the 36-year-old mother to the floor. It’s doubtful those were Mahorn’s intentions, but Leslie, immediately after the fight, […]

  32. mkrob says:

    Rick Mahorn should be ashamed of himself, pushing women to the floor.
    He should be banned from coaching in the WNBA after that. Case closed!

  33. mkrob says:

    Is it me or Rick Mahorn get HUGE!!! He looks almost 400 pounds!!! LOL!!!

  34. Nikki says:

    I dnt think it would change.Yes I love Candace Parker im not taking sides or anything, but she is my idol.Everyone fights. So its o.k

  35. chanda says:

    Well for this cause i would have to say and i know im young but both of the whole teams was in the wrong except for the prople who were trying to break this fight up/argument up…And NO it will not change im about like Nikki who said that she’s not taking Candace Parker side but she is her idol and she is also my biggest idol all so so they need to see what really got this argument started between these to and see what was really up between them because really right now im wondering did they have anything against eachother???or was there words that was going around or that they were saying to eachother and keeping it on the DL(Down Low)???They really need to find out these things!!!and see whats really going on cause seeing Candace Parker get in to a fight is the most un cutest thing!!!!(Like Really!) And it is also bad to See Rick Mahorn push a women on the floor!!!

  36. Eric says:

    david rooney college basketball coach…

    The TrackBack specification was created by Six Apart, who first implemented it in their Movable Type blogging software in August…

  37. daniyia says:

    i think its not her candace fault.And i dont say that because she is my favorite WNBA player.I say this because i seen the whole thing.And i hope she wil be back on the court after she have her baby .bye

  38. Shocked at viewers stupidity says:

    Wow. Were you people watching the same clip. The man held his arms out in multiple directions trying to stop the brawl. Lisa ran into the middle of a brawl. What the heck was she trying to do? Then to play the gender card…..come on! This whole episode was a joke and is being used as a platform for those who are upset at a man getting opportunities in this league. There are men who coach women in college, so why not on the professional level. This is about the person, not the gender. This was a sad day for women’s basketball but it had nothing to do with Rick Mahorn and everything to do with emotions getting out of control on the court. Place the blame where it belongs.

  39. Shocked at viewers stupidity says:

    Bottom Line….. he didn’t push her to the floor, he was saying Lisa stop, Lisa stop, look at his mouth. He was trying to stop her from running into the middle and making it worse. Even her own Coach said that he didn’t believe that Rick intended to make her fall. What a ridiculous way to crucify someone for trying to help. I hope he sits there next time and does nothing and if someone really gets injured, so be it. It’s not worth the public’s judgment and the threat of his career. I wouldn’t lift a finger to help anyone after the way he was treated. Ridiculous!

  40. drew says:

    I think the fight WAS AWESOME WATCHING it on TV but. i think the plenette Pierson just has a real short temper and yaaaaaaaaaaaaaa candace u go girl! it was bad of coach ma horn to push a star athlete like Lisa Leslie. i still wonder if cheryl ford will be good now al cause of pierson. delisha milton jones u have the right to do what you did all respect SPARKS FAN 4 LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. drew says:


  42. BONE QUISHA says: