Kevin Porter Jr. dodged accountability for far too long

Kevin Porter Jr. dodged accountability for far too long

The arrest of Kevin Porter Jr. on charges of felony assault and strangulation related to the beating of his girlfriend Kysre Gondrezic early Monday at the Millenium Hilton in Manhattan. was the last straw for the soon-to-be-former Houston Rocket. Prosecutors say Porter punched Gondrezick with an open fist and didn’t stop until she ran into the hallway bloodied. Gondrezick also told authorities that Porter wrapped his hands around her neck so tightly that she lost motion in her left arm, developed bruising on her neck, and had difficulty breathing. The attack was so severe that he allegedly fractured her vertebrae.

The Rockets are likely dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, but his name should be wiped from their websites, and his image from promotional material in the coming days. He’s done in this league. Miles Bridges’ second chance with the Charlotte Hornets after brutally beating his girlfriend is already a tough pill to swallow, but Porter’s already blown through a dozen flashing lights to reach this nexus point.

From a strictly basketball perspective, Porter has been a tantalizing talent at either guard position, but he was always waiting to burst at the seams. The not-so-dirty secrets around the league have begun spilling out into the mainstream, but many of Porter Jr.’s indiscretions were already known.

His track record as a dangerous loose cannon is extensive. During his freshman season at USC, Porter was suspended for personal conduct issues by Andy Enfield and returned for the remainder of the season, but character issues, and violent proclivities dogged him throughout his career.

In late 2020, he was arrested for allegedly throwing a drink in the face of a woman, ripping her wig off, and punching her in the left side of the face during an argument at a Cleveland apartment complex. And that was with his mother present.

After he flipped his Mercedes SUV in southeast Cleveland, Porter was arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle when investigators discovered a .45 caliber handgun. However, a grand jury refused to indict, and the charges were dismissed.

A year into the pandemic, Porter was participating in a fight outside a Miami strip club with a group who was jumping his teammate, Sterling Brown. There’s nothing inherently wrong with defending a teammate, but mixed in with the mosaic of blots on his growing personal incident report, Porter’s participation in the brawl was another headache.

He couldn’t even be entrusted with the simplest of tasks, like staying for entire games or being critiqued by coaches. In January 2022, Porter threw an object and attempted to tussle with assistant coach John Lucas — who is known league-wide as the guy who can get through to pros with troubled personal lives — before getting into his car and leaving the arena.

Porter was so problematic in Cleveland that after his locker was moved for a recently traded player midway through the 2020-21 season, he threw a tantrum before turning his eyes on General Manager Koby Altman, and the Cavaliers outright waived a 20-year-old rookie first-rounder just 50 games into his NBA ascent. Cleveland understood that his issues extended beyond basketball and the Rockets were more than happy to swoop in and try to rehabilitate him and his career.

The Manhattan assistant district attorney investigating Porter’s case, Mirah Curzer, also said Porter had a history of abusing Gondrezick — including an incident in which he rammed his car into hers. Given his history, it’s not hard to believe. This week, Houston Rockets writer, and podcast host Jackson Gatlin shared a story of Porter destroying a club DJ’s laptop that exemplified his volatility. There’s no telling how many other flare-ups haven’t been disclosed yet, but Porter Jr. has always been on the verge of detonation. It shouldn’t have taken a dramatic instance for everyone to shun him and go public with stories of their run-ins with his temper.

Porter won’t be on the Rockets long. His emotional outbursts are so renowned that the Rockets included wording in his $82 million extension that would allow the Rockets to release him at any point before opening night without paying him guaranteed money. He’s so reviled that he couldn’t even earn a guaranteed deal at age 22 after starting all 61 games he was active for.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.