Rivers promises to 'roast' Wilkins for incident
Boston coach Doc Rivers said Friday it was ''unfortunate, obviously'' that his friend and former Atlanta teammate Dominique Wilkins was involved in a fight this week that left another man with a swollen eye.
Otherwise, Rivers couldn't contain his glee as he poked fun at Wilkins' sudden fame as a fighter.
''I'm gonna roast him forever,'' Rivers said before the Celtics' game against the Hawks.
Rashan S. Michel, a former NBA referee, was released early Thursday on $1,000 cash bond after being charged with two counts of simple battery. Michel, claiming Wilkins owes him $12,500 for suits, confronted Wilkins after Wednesday night's game against Orlando in Atlanta.
Wilkins apparently landed at least one punch. A police booking photo showed Michel with a large welt under his left eye.
''I told him yesterday when we talked I was considering hiring him for security,'' Rivers said. ''I had no idea he had that skill set. I was really impressed, I gotta say. ... I called him. You know how 'Nique is: 'I didn't mean to do anything. I didn't throw but one punch.' And then I saw it. I said, 'Wait a minute!'''
A video obtained by TMZ showed a person identified as Wilkins throwing at least two punches at a man in the first row before he was pulled away.
Rivers played with Wilkins in Atlanta from 1983-91. Rivers was the Hawks' point guard and leader. Wilkins was the ''Human Highlight Film'' and one of the league's most prolific scorers known best for his creative and powerful jams.
Wilkins worked as a TV color analyst in Wednesday night's game.
The 51-year-old Wilkins is also a vice president with the Hawks. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Wilkins did not work on the broadcast of Friday night's game. He attended the game, sitting in the front row, but passed word through a team official he had no comment on the incident.
''It's unfortunate, obviously, that it happened,'' Rivers said. ''But now that it has happened and everybody's OK, I'm gonna roast him forever! It's terrific! With 'Nique, if you have ammunition, it's awesome. And I have ammunition.''
AP Freelance writer Amy Jinkner-Lloyd in Atlanta contributed to this report.