VENTURA : Basketball Player Is Sentenced for Punch

A former guard for the Houston Rockets basketball team who punched a referee during a minor-league game in Ventura was sentenced Tuesday to three years probation and fined $500 on a charge of battery.

Ventura County Municipal Judge Herbert Curtis III also ordered Allan Leavell, 32, now a guard for the Tulsa Fast Breakers, to pay restitution to referee Pete Quinn and to refrain from harming or threatening him.

Leavell did not appear for his sentencing but entered a no-contest plea through attorney Louis Samonsky Jr.

By entering the plea, Leavell admitted that he knocked Quinn to the floor with a stiff-handed blow during a minor league game at Ventura Community College on March 30, after disagreeing with a call Quinn made.


Quinn pressed charges, making Leavell the first professional athlete ever to be arrested in such an incident. Leavell is also the first athlete convicted of such a charge.

The Continental Basketball Assn. suspended Leavell for two years and fined him $5,000.

“He’s very sorry it happened,” Samonsky said. “He claims it wasn’t a punch. . . . He claims he pushed the referee in the neck area with his hand between the thumb and forefinger. He had no idea why the referee stayed down for so long.”

Samonsky said Leavell has not played professionally since he was suspended but is considering applying to play for the NBA or for a European league.