Houston Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr. fractured girlfriend's vertebra in NYC assault, prosecutors say
By MICHAEL R. SISAK
NEW YORK (AP) Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr.'s alleged attack on his girlfriend in a New York City hotel room left the woman with a fractured neck vertebra and a deep cut above her right eye, prosecutors revealed at his arraignment Tuesday.
Porter, 23, pleaded not guilty to felony assault and strangulation charges in connection with the incident early Monday at the Millennium Hilton near the United Nations in Manhattan. Prosecutors said he didn't stop until his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick, ran out into the hallway covered in blood.
The NBA star, who had been in police custody since his arrest around 6:45 a.m. Monday, was released after posting bail, which was set at $75,000 cash or $100,000 bond. He was also ordered to stay away from Gondrezick.
“This is a serious domestic violence case,” Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Mirah Curzer said in court.
According to Curzer, Porter has a history of abusing Gondrezick, including an incident in which he rammed his car into hers.
Porter is due back in court in Manhattan on Oct. 16. The Rockets are scheduled to play a preseason game that day in San Antonio, with their regular season tipping off about two weeks later.
A message seeking comment was left with Porter's lawyer.
In a statement Monday, the Rockets said: “We are in the process of gathering information surrounding the matter involving Kevin Porter Jr. We have no further comment at this time.”
According to a criminal complaint, Gondrezick told police that Porter punched her repeatedly in the face with a closed fist, causing an inches-long gash above the right eye, bruising and substantial pain to her face.
Gondrezick, 26, said Porter also wrapped his hands around her neck and strangled her, causing her to have difficulty breathing, redness and bruising to her neck, and loss of motion to her left arm.
Hospital testing showed that Gondrezick sustained a fracture to one of the vertebrae in her neck, the criminal complaint said.
Porter and Gondrezick started dating in February 2022, according to an anniversary message she posted on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
Gondrezick, the fourth pick in the 2021 WNBA draft, played one season for the Indiana Fever and is currently a free agent. She is also an actress and model.
A message was left with Gondrezick's management company.
Porter has played four seasons in the NBA - a tenure marked by on-court prowess and off-court problems.
Last year, Porter averaged 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game, earning a lucrative four-year extension with Houston, where he had landed after wearing out his welcome in Cleveland.
In November 2020, while playing for the Cavaliers, Porter was arrested after police said they found a loaded handgun and marijuana in his car after a single-vehicle crash. Porter claimed he didn’t know the gun was there, and his charges were eventually dismissed.
Porter, a 2019 first-round draft pick from the University of Southern California, was traded from Cleveland to Houston a few months later after he reportedly blew up at the Cavaliers' general manager after finding out that his locker had been moved to make room for a newly acquired player.
In April 2021, the NBA fined Porter $50,000 for violating the league’s COVID-19 health and safety rules by visiting a Miami strip club. In January 2022, the Rockets suspended Porter for a game after then-coach Stephen Silas said the player had a “spirited debate” and “lost his temper” at halftime.
Associated Press writer Kristie Rieken in Houston contributed to this report.
Updated September 13, 2023