After a card game gone awry, Memphis Grizzlies teammates O.J. Mayo(notes) and Tony Allen(notes) had to be separated during a physical encounter on the team's charter flight Monday, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Mayo owed Allen money from a card game, “Boo-Ray” and sources said Mayo became increasingly belligerent and antagonistic toward Allen when asked to settle the debt. Sources said Allen walked away from Mayo to go the restroom and returned to find Mayo continuing to berate him. Eventually, Mayo inched close to Allen, and sources said Allen hit Mayo.
“Tony warned [Mayo] to watch his mouth, and [Mayo] wouldn’t do it and just kept going off on him,” a source with knowledge of the incident told Yahoo! Sports.
Several players eventually separated the teammates, sources said. Mayo and Allen were brought into meet with Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins on Monday, and sources said the organization believed Mayo played the bigger part in escalating the encounter.
Mayo missed a 110-105 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. Despite the team's insistence that Mayo missed Tuesday's game with bronchitis, sources said his absence was connected to the fight with Allen.
Allen replaced Mayo in the lineup and scored 19 points, playing a key role in the Grizzlies' victory. Sources said the two players talked on Monday and Tuesday and both expressed regret about the incident.
Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace didn’t respond to a text message from Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday night, but the team later released a statement, acknowledging a "brief altercation" between the two players.
“The club considers the matter closed and will not comment further,” Wallace said in the statement.
Allen told one associate that the money owed to him was "short money," and another source said Mayo owed him "a few grand."
"Boo-Ray" is the same card game Gilbert Arenas(notes) and Javaris Crittenton(notes) were playing on the Washington Wizards' charter flight last season that ultimately led to the confrontation in which Arenas brought guns into the team's locker room. After the incident, several teams moved to curtail gambling on team flights.