December 2004-February 2005: Sam Mitchell physically assaults his players
Nobody likes a pussy; especially Sam Mitchell. So when the rookie head coach remarked to Jim Todd during the team’s first practice that “there’s somethin’ faggity in the air”, you knew he wasn’t talking about Jerome Moiso’s Drakkar Noir. Mitchell was determined to turn around the culture of softness still lingering with the team from its country club days with Lenny Wilkens. He began by talking to the Raptor starting backcourt. Actually, replace “talking to” with “beating the shit out of”, and you get a better idea of this Players Coach’s style.
In two separate locker room incidents, Sam Mitchell would go on to challenge Rafer Alston to a fist fight during half-time of game in Cleveland, and wrestle Vince Carter to the ground from a trainer’s table. But Mitchell picked a fight with the wrong two Raptors, both fought back: Alston left Gund Arena crying, and Carter’s mother issued a public complaint.