CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hornets owner Michael Jordan said it was a “tap of endearment.”
After watching a bizarre ending to Charlotte’s win against Detroit on Wednesday, a bewildered Jordan lightly smacked the back of second-year guard Malik Monk’s head in closing seconds of the game.
Jordan told The Associated Press Thursday via text message through his spokeswoman Estee Portnoy there was no malicious intent when he playfully smacked Monk on the back of his head.
“It was like a big brother and little brother tap,” Jordan told the AP. “No negative intent. Only love!”
Monk and teammate Bismack Biyombo ran from the bench on to the court to celebrate as Jeremy Lamb launched a 22-footer game-winning shot with 0.3 seconds left. Officials gathered at the scorer’s table and assessed the Hornets a one-shot technical foul for having six men on the floor.
“Big, big, big brother,” Monk said with a laugh Thursday. “But it was nothing. He was just playing.”
Monk went on to say, “it’s Mike, and whatever he does is going to make (news) because nowadays it’s all social media and everybody has their phone out there and I wasn’t surprised.”
Hornets coach James Borrego said he hadn’t seen the video of Jordan tapping Monk, but smiled and said “it went viral, huh?”
There are no disciplinary actions expected from the league for Jordan’s playful moment.
Monk said that he didn’t see the difference between his celebration and others around the league —even though was nearly on the opposing foul line when Lamb’s shot went through the basket.
“If they call that they have to call every single one of them,” Monk said. “Everybody celebrates and has a foot on the court. We won. I’m glad we got the ‘W.'”
Biyombo said he got caught up in the moment.
“I did not realize we still had time on the clock,” Biyombo said. “I was watching the replay and you could see I was all the way out there (and) Malik was on the court. … When Jeremy Lamb pointed at the clock, we were like, ‘shoot, we still have a lot of game to play.'”
Borrego called it a “teachable moment” for his team, knowing it could have cost his team the game.
However, officials made the right call, according to NBA rules since the Hornets began the play with five players on the court. That is why Lamb’s basket counted.
The Pistons made the one technical foul shot, but Lamb’s basket was allowed to stand and the Hornets won 108-107 after Detroit’s inbounds pass was stolen.
“You got to remember there is still .3 on the clock,” Borrego said. “We have not been in that situation where we made a shot like and I think there was excitement there. A natural response, right? But you’ve got to react the right way.
“We will learn from it and won’t let that happen again.”
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