Former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell vehemently denied a story that he had a training room tussle with Vince Carter back when the two were members of the organization.
Jalen Rose, who played for Mitchell in Toronto, recently said on Grantland.com that the two were involved in an altercation which eventually ended with Carter picking up Sam Mitchell over shoulders and slamming him onto the training room floor.
Mitchell appeared on Sportsnet Radio the Fan 590’s “Tim and Sid Show” Friday and categorically denied the story.
“You know the media. If Vince Carter and I got into a fight in the lockerroom when I was the coach, how long do you think it would be before the information would have came out?” Micthell asked his hosts. “You think it would have taken six or seven years before it came out? Or do you think it would have come out within a day?
“You know guys can’t hold water. Do you think they could have held that for six years?”
Mitchell said the logistics of the story were laughable.
“Now think about that. Vince Carter, who you couldn’t make go to the weight room, picked me up over his head, spun me around like I was a pizza, like some dough on a pizza platter, and then slammed me,” the former Raptors coach said.
Mitchell went on to provide his version of the story.
“Morris Peterson was lying on the training table. He got hurt in practice – like, slightly pulled his hamstring. I went down to the training room, where all the players were after practice getting treatment. I was talking to Mo, Vince came up behind me and put me in a bear hug, and I stumbled and fell on one of the training tables.
“He starts laughing and saying, ‘Coach, I got you, I got you.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Vince, you got me.’ And the players started laughing, and that was it.”
Mitchell was then asked how Rose’s story evolved from a bear hug into a tale of an all-out brawl. He was quick to question Rose’s credibility.
“Consider the source. You know what blows my mind? And I don’t attack people because I try to take the high road, but consider where it’s coming from,” Mitchell pointed out. “Where in this person’s history are the things that he said true? You are talking about a person who played at a university whose record has been expunged. And for what? Lying and cheating. Right?
“You spent your entire career in the NBA making a lot of money, but you never quite lived up to your potential as a player,” Mitchell said of Rose. “Now you’re on TV and you get to say these things. First of all, we need to stop believing that everybody on TV is credible and (that) everybody you hear in the media is credible.”
Mitchell said he always got along with Carter and that his former star charge treated him with respect.
“My relationship with Vince Carter, in all seriousness, was great. Vince told me when I got the job that his fight and disappointment was with management and he hated that I was brought into the middle of it as the coach,” Mitchell said. “And all I said to Vince was, ‘I’ve got to do my job, and if you are not playing up to your potential, I am going to take you out of the game.’ And he said, ‘Coach, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.’ And we never had a problem. Never had an issue.”