The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Kelly Iko released a report earlier today detailing the horrifying events involving Sterling Brown of the Houston Rockets that had been previously described without much detail by the organization in a statement.
The Rockets acknowledged that Brown had been assaulted by “unknown individuals” and struck with a bottle after the team landed in Miami late Sunday night. “He suffered facial lacerations but will make a full recovery,” the statement read. The report from The Athletic paints a different picture of the incident, alleging that Rockets players and coaches were fearful that he would wind up in critical condition, while doctors were concerned about the possibility that Brown could develop blood clots overnight from the injuries to his head.
While Brown received stitches to address the aforementioned facial lacerations, and was cleared to be discharged from the hospital after undergoing several tests, it doesn’t quite underscore the gravity of his situation. “If he hadn’t been as physically strong and tough, he might not have made it out of the situation [Sunday] night,” a source told The Athletic. “He could have died.”
The altercation occurred in the early morning hours outside of a Miami strip club. Brown reportedly tried to enter the wrong van, and a heated exchange ensued with three or more men who appeared to be in possession of the vehicle. “It escalated into all of those individuals jumping Brown, physically beating him up, hitting him in the head with a bottle and leaving blood everywhere,” a source said, with one stating that the attack with the bottle left him with a “very hazy memory” about what happened. Another claims the bottle cracked open Brown’s head, causing blood to leak all over the emergency room floor.
“His face is jacked up,” one source said.
Brown’s teammate Kevin Porter Jr. was with him at the time of the altercation. Even though Porter Jr. was “roughed up a bit” during his efforts to pull Brown out of harm’s way, he was well enough to play later that night against the Heat.
The NBA has launched an investigation into the incident, and will also look into whether Brown and Porter Jr. violated the league’s health and safety protocols by visiting a strip club during the season in the midst of the pandemic.
Brown reached a $750,000 settlement last year with the city of Milwaukee following a 2018 incident where he was arrested and tased by officers for parking across two handicap spots in a Walgreen’s parking lot. Brown claims he was targeted by authorities because he’s Black, and sought an admission of a constitutional violation, along with changes to the department’s standard operating procedures.