Sprewell was a standout player his rookie season, starting in 69 games, where he averaged 15.4 ppg.
Sprewell is known for his 1997 choking incident, where he attacked Head Coach P. J. Carlesimo during practice. When Carlesimo yelled at Sprewell to make crisper passes, Sprewell responded that he wasn't in the mood for criticism and told the coach to keep his distance. When Carlesimo approached, Sprewell threatened to kill him and dragged him to the ground by his throat, choking him for 10–15 seconds before his teammates pulled Sprewell off his coach. Sprewell returned about 20 minutes later and landed a glancing blow at Carlesimo before being dragged away again.
Sprewell was suspended for 10 days without pay. The next day, in the wake of a public uproar, the Warriors voided the remainder of his contract, which included $23.7 million over three years, and the NBA expelled him from the league. Sprewell took the case to arbitration, where the contract voiding was overturned and the league suspension was reduced to the remainder of the season. Sprewell did not play again until January, 1999, after the Warriors traded him to the New York Knicks for John Starks, Chris Mills and Terry Cummings.
Many people felt that signing Sprewell was too big of a gamble for the Knicks to take, but Sprewell vowed that he was a changed man. As soon as he arrived in New York, he became a fan favorite with his intensity, quickly becoming one of the most popular players on the Knicks. New York qualified for the 1999 playoffs, making the field as the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. New York shocked the NBA as they beat the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, and finally the Indiana Pacers to become the first eighth seeded team to make it to the NBA Finals, where they met the San Antonio Spurs. They eventually lost t in 5 games, though Sprewell enjoyed a good series for the most part, averaging 26.0 ppg. He tallied 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Knicks' 78-77 Game 5 loss.
Over the next few years, Sprewell's jersey became one of the top 10 selling NBA jerseys until 2004. Sprewell represented the Knicks during the 2001 All-Star Game in Washington D.C., where the East defeated the West in a remarkable late-game surge. Even after playing for 10 years, he still was putting up the numbers, averaging 19.5 ppg and setting his own career high in the 2002 season, when he notched 49 points against the Boston Celtics.
In 2003, Sprewell made NBA history as he connected 9 of 9 from the three-point arc, making the most three pointers without a single miss leading him season-high 38 points versus his future team, the Los Angeles Clippers. After the season, Sprewell was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a four-team trade involving Keith Van Horn, Glenn Robinson, and Terrell Brandon. In 2004, Spree was part of the three player tandum that also included Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell. Sprewell finished second in team scoring, pacing at 19.9 ppg behind Garnett's 24.0 ppg.
On October 31, 2004, Spreewell was offered a contract by the wolves for 3 years and 7 million. Sprewell was insulted by the contract, and made his famous quote, "I've got a family to feed." In what would be his final year of playing, Sprewell had his lowest production of his career.
Sprewell's agent told SI that "Latrell doesn't need the money that badly. To go from being offered $7 million to taking $1 million, that would be a slap in the face." Sprewell thought that he would get offers around the trade deadline from teams, but this never materialized in the way he wanted. He was offered contracts by the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs, but he failed to respond to their offers. The Lakers were also interested in him before the 2005-06 season, but they could not reach an agreement on the amount he was to be paid.
It is unclear wether or not Spree is ever to play again. He was tracked down by a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune during the 2005-2006 season, but once he made it known he was a reporter, Sprewell chased him away from his home in Wisconsin.
<stats> Player=Latrell Sprewell Sport=NBA </stats>
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