ATLANTA — A former NBA referee was charged with attacking Hall of Famer and Atlanta Hawks television analyst Dominique Wilkins in a dispute over a clothing bill.
Carlos Campos, an Atlanta police spokesman, said 36-year-old Rashan S. Michel was released early Thursday on $1,000 cash bond after being charged with two counts of simple battery.
Michel confronted the former NBA star while he was wrapping up his broadcasting duties after Atlanta’s 85-82 win over Orlando on Wednesday night. He claimed Wilkins owed him between $15,000 and $17,000 for suits.
“It appears the gentleman came down after the game. Mr. Wilkins was giving a live broadcast and he started yelling some things, confronting Mr. Wilkins,” Campos said. “When Mr. Wilkins stepped away to de-escalate the situation, Mr. Michel pursued Mr. Wilkins to the point that he physically attacked him.”
Wilkins, who was not injured, told officers that he didn’t believe he owed Michel for the clothing.
“Apparently, Mr. Wilkins was under the impression it was a gift,” Campos said.
The only blows in the altercation were apparently landed by Wilkins. A police booking photo showed Michel with a large welt under his left eye.
The 51-year-old Wilkins is also a vice president with the Hawks and perhaps the most famous player in team history. “The Human Highlight Film” scored nearly 27,000 points in his career and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
The team said Wilkins would not comment on the incident. A Twitter page under Michel’s name, which describes him as a former college and NBA official and founder of RM Clothing, had several entries posted about the incident after he was released from jail:
— “Pay your debts, poser.”
— “His lil entourage had his back.”
— “I call what happened at Philips Arena earlier, Operation Repo … next time have my money!”
A Tweet directed to Wilkins’ account said, “Watch ur back cuz!”
The Associated Press left a message with a number listed for Michel.