It’s the weekend of April 9, 2018, and the Dallas Mavericks are visiting the Houston Rockets in a preseason game.
With the Mavericks down to the last second, the fans are chanting “MVP!” as the Mavericks go for a quick four-point play.
But when Dallas’ Tony Allen, who was the MVP of the 2002 NBA Finals, misses a three-pointer, he loses his momentum.
He is fouled and has to be helped off the court.
Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, who missed the game with a shoulder injury, is in the game for the second straight night.
After the Mavericks score a basket, Nowitzke goes back to the bench.
“What’s going on?” a fan yells to the guard.
“The MVP is getting hit in the head by a teammate.
What the hell is going on?!”
The crowd chants “Mavericks!” and the Mavs’ coach, Vinny Del Negro, yells back, “Get the guy out of here!”
The fans don’t leave, but Del Negro then turns around and sees Allen on the floor with his head bent in a ball.
The fans follow Del Negro to the locker room.
The Mavers have lost a game, but Allen is clearly traumatized.
He’s seen his teammates fall down.
He hears a fan yelling “Mavs!
Get out of the way!”
He looks at the fans and sees them throwing trash on his teammates and the court, and he runs toward them.
The crowd starts to boo Allen.
“Don’t leave,” Del Negro says.
“I’ll kick you out of there.
Get the dude out of this building.”
When the Maviels go to the dressing room, they find Allen with a concussion.
Del Negro tells Allen that he will have to play, but when Allen tries to walk away, Del Negro pulls him down the court by the shoulder and says, “You’re not going anywhere.”
Allen looks up at Del Negro and sees his eyes were open and his lips moving.
“Are you kidding me?”
Del Negro yells.
“You didn’t see that coming?”
Allen goes to the sideline, but he collapses again.
Del, who had a history of concussions, tells Allen to come back to him.
Allen walks off the floor.
“Did you see what happened to him?”
“Yes, sir,” Allen says.
Del does not want Allen to go to a hospital, but his teammates are not willing to let him leave.
When the Mavericks return to the court to play the next night, Allen is still in the locker, but it is not the same.
“Tony, where are you?”
Allen doesn’t know who he is.
“We’re the team that won the championship,” Del says.
Allen gets the ball.
“Whoa, that’s the only thing I want you to know,” Del shouts.
“This is what happens to the Mavericks when you let up on the court and let our guys play the way we want to play.
We’re not gonna let up.
We’ve got a job to do.”
Allen doesn, too.
“Coach, you know that,” he says.
After Allen leaves the locker rooms, Del says, “(Allen) was playing well and he was coming back into the game.
But I just wanted to make sure that I got you.”
Del tells Allen the truth.
“Get that dude out the way,” Del commands.
Allen leaves, and Del goes back into his office and tells his team what happened.
“When I went into the locker-room, I was shocked to see Tony Allen with his helmet off,” Del said.
“His helmet was upside down and his helmet was bleeding all over.
He didn’t have any protection.
He was bleeding from the neck, from the shoulder.
It was all over the place.
And the only way I could get him out the game was to hit him.
But that wasn’t happening.
That wasn’t even a game.
That was a nightmare.”
Allen’s injuries were severe.
“He was playing like a man,” Del remembered.
“And when he came back in, he didn’t look like he was in the best of shape.”
Del and his players were shocked by the severity of Allen’s injury.
“If you were going to hit someone, you’d want to hit Tony Allen,” Del told the media.
Del was told he would have to leave the lockerroom if he didn.
He and the team had a meeting with Allen, Del said, and “I told him I didn’t care who he was or what he was wearing, I just told him he was an NBA player.
He had to leave.”
Del, Del’s former coach at Georgia Southern, said he knew he could not handle the situation.
“Vinny was telling me, ‘If you leave the game, we are done