Mother Pays $9,000 After Daughter Punches Opponent During Youth Basketball Game

A+basketball+player+hit+opponent+Lauren+Ham+after+being+encouraged+to+do+so+by+her+mother+Latira+Shonty+Hunt.

LA Times

A basketball player hit opponent Lauren Ham after being encouraged to do so by her mother Latira Shonty Hunt.

Journey Mou, Photojournalist

Latira Shonty was charged last Wednesday with, “one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one misdemeanor count of battery” (Los Angeles Times). Around a year ago on November 7, 2021, at The MAP Sports Facility, Mrs. Hunt was heard on video saying, “You better hit her for that” (ABC7) after her daughter attempted a three-point shot and fell. Hunt’s daughter tripped because 15-year-old Lauren Ham was behind her. A few seconds after her mother’s comment, Hunt was seen charging toward Ham, connecting a punch that knocked the 15-year-old to the floor. These actions by both mother and daughter put Lauryn Ham in concussion protocol, where she was, “forced to sit in a darkened room” (ABC7).

Situations like this can make basketball scary and intimidating.”

— Kelsey Ikemoto (9)

The scene unfolded at a championship game at The MAP Sports Facility. Videos circulated on the internet after mother Alice Ham posted them on social media. A few days after the recording blew up, footage of Hunt hitting two other female basketball players prior to the interaction between her and Ham went viral. This raised questions from Kevin Hahn, the Ham family’s attorney, like why this behavior was allowed to continue and why hasn’t it been put to a stop. Kelsey Ikemoto (9), a player for the Yorba Linda High School Girls Varsity Basketball team states, “Situations like this can make basketball scary and intimidating.”

 

Due to these actions of violence, Alice Ham filed a report against Latira Hunt with local law enforcement. Mrs. Ham said, “‘I want the daughter and the mom held accountable…this type of behavior…cannot happen in youth sports” (ABC7), as well as stating how the mother showed no remorse after the assault (Los Angeles Times). 

 

The MAP Sports Facility and Avac United both banned the mother and daughter from attending any future tournaments. Months later, Mrs. Hunt has to pay $9,000 in restitution to the Ham family, stay away from the victim, and complete twelve weeks of anger management classes before she is able to attend any games. Additionally, she will have to complete a written apology to Lauryn Ham, her family, and both basketball teams. Mrs. Hunt’s case could have been prosecuted if not for the judge granting misdemeanor diversion to the mother. The misdemeanor division program is an alternative to prosecution for first-time offenders (sa14). Without this program, Hunt’s mother would have been imprisoned for the charges.

 

A couple of days after the game, the father of the Hunt family, Corey Benjamin, 44, who was a former NBA player for the Chicago Bulls nineteen years ago apologized on behalf of his daughter, using words like, “shocked and disappointed” in regards to her behavior and, “Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires” (Yahoo News).

 

After the case, Alice Ham said to CBS Los Angeles, “Something has to change…people need to wake up that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.” Kelsey Ikemoto (9) agrees, adding that “violence is never the answer.” Though not everything changes overnight, seeing parents like Alice Ham fighting against actions such as these and informing the public about them is a significant step towards a better environment for basketball and sports.