Los Angeles, CA – The mother of a 14-year-old girl who told her daughter to hit another player during a basketball game is now facing charges.
Her child is Cori Benjamin, the daughter of former Chicago Bulls player Corey Benjamin.
The incident occurred on Nov. 7 during the Fall Jamboree Tournament at the Map Sports Facility in Garden Grove when Cori’s team, Dream Academy, faced off with the SoCal Blaze, KTLA reported.
A video of the game showed SoCal was up 15 points on Dream Academy when Benjamin’s daughter tried for a three-point shot and missed.
Cori stumbled backwards after attempting the shot and knocked down 15-year-old Lauryn Ham in the process, the video showed.
Ham was playing for the other team, KTLA reported.
The video showed both players got up and appeared to be getting back into the game when Benjamin’s daughter suddenly turned and released a violent left hand roundhouse to Ham’s face.
There was an audible thump as Ham’s head hit the floor and then the referee whistled and stopped play.
A referee told KTLA that he heard Cori’s mother tell her daughter to strike the other player.
“You better go hit her,” the mother reportedly yelled from the stands.
This is so disturbing. Corey Benjamin’s daughter filmed punching opponents twice during travel basketball games in SoCal. Especially disturbing that you can hear the mom say “you better hit her” in the 2nd video. There’s no place for this in the game. pic.twitter.com/LZ783wMtTu
— Kylen Mills (@KylenMills) November 14, 2021
Ham sustained a concussion from the attack, KTLA reported.
Alice Ham, the mother of the girl Cori attacked, told the Associated Press that she has filed a police report and considers it to be an assault on her daughter.
But it was Cori’s mother, 44-year-old Latira Shonty Hunt, whom the Orange County District Attorney’s Office focused on, KNBC reported. “It is unconscionable that a parent would encourage her child to engage in violence during a sporting event,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “Youth sports are invaluable in teaching our children discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship. But a win at all costs mentality that is completely devoid of fair play, respect, and civility is disgusting.”
“We as parents have the fundamental responsibility to raise our children to be good human beings who treat others with kindness and humanity,” Spitzer added.
Hunt has been charged with misdemeanor battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for encouraging her daughter to attack the other girl, KNBC reported.
If convicted, she could face up to a year in jail for the crime.
The former National Basketball Association (NBA) guard made a public statement about his daughter’s behavior when the video was first released, TMZ reported.
“As a father, I’m shocked and disappointed at my daughter’s behavior as this is not a reflection of the values and standards that my family holds,” Benjamin said in a statement. “Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires.”
“My daughter made a mistake,” he said. “One that she will need to make right. I am committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct.”
Then Benjamin apologized to those who were impacted by Cori’s actions, TMZ reported.
“To the young lady who was punched by my daughter during a youth basketball game, I sincerely apologize to you and I am praying for your complete healing both physically and emotionally,” he continued.
“To her family, I deeply apologize and regret that this happened to your daughter as she did not deserve this to happen to her,” the father said. “Finally, I apologize to all of those who have been impacted and hurt by the actions of my daughter as well as those of her mother.”
The youth league that held the tournament announced that Benjamin’s daughter had been banned at about the same time it was revealed that Cori had attacked and punched multiple opponents on the court during a game in Del Amo two months earlier, TMZ reported.
The video of the September game showed Cori jockeying with another girl to try to gain position inside the key and then she suddenly turned around and slugged the other player in the head.
Benjamin’s daughter hit the other girl in the head at least four time before she turned and went after another member of the opposing team, the video showed.
Video showed Benjamin’s daughter threw even more haymakers when she caught up with the other player, TMZ reported
KTLA reported that the tournament banned Cori, her basketball team, and her mother from the league indefinitely after the incident.
Benjamin, 43, was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2018 draft and played for them for three years before he signed with the Atlanta Hawks for his last year in the NBA.