The son of colorful Blazer color commentator Mike Rice Sr. was fired from his job as a basketball coach at Rutgers University in April of this year, after ESPN aired out footage of Mike Rice Jr.'s abusive behavior toward his players.
The video showed Rice throwing basketballs at his players, along with a battery of expetives. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie—known for his oratory restraint—called for Rice's resignation.
[Note: the video below includes offensive language.]
Mike Rice. Jr. talked to the New York Times' Sunday Magazine this week, and it seems he attributes his competitive streak to his dad. "Iâm calm compared with him," Rice told reporter Jonathan Mahler. "Heâs renowned.â The piece recounts the famous 1994 incident in which Rice Sr. was ejected from a Blazer game while acting as a broadcaster, then continues:
Rice Sr. once threw his tennis racket after losing a match to one of his daughters. On the other hand, it was Rice who knocked out one of his fatherâs teeth during a pickup game with his groomsmen on the day before his wedding.
Rice, however, balks at blaming Rice Sr. for his tantrums at Rutgers:
âMy father taught me the greatest game in the history of the world and the passion you have to have for it,â he says. When I asked him if having such a hypercompetitive father might have had something to do with his behavior at Rutgers, he bristled. âAm I going to blame my father? No. That was on me. He also taught me right from wrong.â
A few other interesting bits from the profile: A comment from Rice Sr. that his son's career path in coaching was determined by the fact that "he had his mother's speed." And that Rice Jr. was so competitive it annoyed his teammates, and he was often found "taped to the training table or stuck in the locker-room wastebasket, his hands and feet bound with athletic tape."
The piece appears to be a public-image rehabilitation piece for the ousted coach. But it did call our attention to a Saturday Night Live spoof that Rice Jr. still apparently won't watch, in which a coach hurls a toaster at her player:
"So what've you been doing?" a neighbor on an airplane flight asked Rice, after learning that he was the coach who'd gotten fired from Rutgers.
"I've been doing a lot of basketball camps," Rice replied.
"Do you show up with a toaster?"
[Read the entire profile here.]