On a hot night in the big city, Michael Beasley lost his cool. Just a day after two-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant silenced a heckler with his play during an exhibition game at Baruch college in New York City, Beasley pushed a fan in the face after being heckled during a playground tilt at Dyckman Park in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood. The muscular 6-10 power forward, who has had the early stages of his NBA career marred by inconsistent play and marijuana use, singled out a particular fan in the tightly-packed area beneath one of the baskets. Beasley put his hand on his face and shoved him back.
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The New York Daily News identified the fan that Beasley pushed as Garland Quince, someone who frequents the games at the uptown park.
"He just mushed me. He mushed me in my face," Quince said. "I was arguing about a Kevin Durant call and he just mushed me in my face."
Coming on the heels of Durant's 66-point explosion at Rucker and his heckler-silencing 41 points at Baruch, it was no wonder that he had the NYC crowd on his side. Perhaps the partisanship eventually pushed Beasley to lash out. Or, maybe it was just getting crossed up and blown by on this play:
Of course, the night wasn't all fisticuffs and broken ankles for Beasley. He delivered his own highlight moments as his 21 points lifted his 914 squad to 80-77 win over Durant's Team Nike.
With NBA Players Union chief Billy Hunter betting on a cancelled 2011-2012 season, Beasley and Durant in many ways represent the potential and pitfalls for the league as a whole. Both are preternaturally gifted athletes, but only one seems to have sense in proportion to his skills. Durant has inked a long-term deal with a small-market club in Oklahoma City and clearly embraced his role as an ambassador for the game while Beasley seems to be fighting both himself and, in this case literally, the fans who come to watch him.