Kevin Porter Jr.’s immense talent kept his problems off the basketball court obscure for a long time. His latest incident will likely hurt his NBA career.
The former USC star was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend, a former WNBA player Kysre GondrezickAuthorities said she broke her cervical vertebra and left a deep gash above her right eye during an attack early Monday at the Millennium Hilton in New York.
Porter, a Houston Rockets swingman who signed a four-year, $82.5 million contract extension a year ago, pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and strangulation at his arraignment Tuesday.
“This is a serious case of domestic violence,” Mirah Curzer, an assistant Manhattan district attorney, told the judge.
Curzer also said that Porter had abused Gondrezick in the past, including an incident in which he allegedly rammed his car into hers. According to her, Porter and Gondrezick have been together since the beginning of 2022 Social media post They celebrated their one-year anniversary together in February.
According to a Associated Press criminal complaint, Gondrezick told police that Porter repeatedly punched her in the face, causing a deep cut and a bruise above her right eye. She also claimed he put his hands around her neck, causing bruises and a broken vertebra.
“We are aware of the reports regarding Kevin Porter Jr.,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “The league office is in contact with the Houston Rockets and is in the process of gathering additional information.”
Porter’s off-field issues date back to his first season at USC in 2019.
He was suspended indefinitely for undisclosed behavioral issues during the Trojans’ road trip against Oregon State and Oregon.
“The last thing you want to do as a head coach is suspend one of your players, but when there are behavioral issues, we have no choice,” USC coach Andy Enfield said at the time.
Porter only sat out two games before Enfield reinstated him in time to contribute to the Trojans’ stunning win over Arizona. However, Porter went from being a lottery pick to No. 30 overall in the spring NBA draft to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He only lasted one season before being traded to the Rockets. Before training camp began, Porter was accused hit a woman in the face According to police reports, she tore off her tissue in downtown Cleveland.
A few months later, Porter was involved in a car accident calculated for improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, failure to control a motor vehicle and possession of marijuana. The charges were ultimately dismissed.
Soon after, he threw a tantrum in the locker room after a new player was acquired, resulting in Porter’s locker being moved. That led to a confrontation with general manager Koby Altman and a trade to the Rockets for a second-round pick.
While his play improved in Houston — he averaged 17 points and six assists per game over the past three seasons — his demeanor remained questionable.
In April 2021, the NBA fined Porter $50,000 for violating the league’s COVID-19 health and safety rules Visiting a strip club in Miamiwhere he and teammate Sterling Brown got into an altercation with other men in the parking lot.
In January 2022 the Rockets suspended Porter After then-coach Stephen Silas said the player had a “vigorous debate” and “lost his temper” at halftime, “to the point where I thought about what was best for the team and what was best for ours.” Culture as a group and just did it. “As I’m sure everyone agrees, I thought it would be best if he was suspended for today’s game.”
The difficult journey Porter took to get to USC and become a star in the NBA was uplifting. His father – no relation to him Kevin Porter who played in the NBA from 1973 to 1983 — was killed by gunfire in a south Seattle bar when Porter Jr. was 4 years old.
He was raised by his mother and his reputation grew as his skilled left-handed shot and unusual athleticism came to the fore. His coach at Rainier Beach High in Seattle, Mike Bethea, had also coached Porter’s father, and although Porter Jr. was suspended more than once, the two became friends and the player developed into a top young player.
This led to his only season at USC, which was marred by injuries, questionable behavior and occasional brilliance. Porter also listened to those who questioned his maturity and readiness for the NBA and vowed to fulfill his potential.
“This is my dream, so I’m paying attention,” Porter told the Times’ J. Brady McCullough in 2019. “I won’t be the one to say I’m not worried about it. I want to be able to support my family and my mother never have to work again. I actually pay a lot of attention to what people say about me.”