Former NBA forward Kermit Washington was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles as part of an undisclosed federal investigation.
Tony Rizzo of the Kansas City Star reported the news, noting a press conference is scheduled Wednesday regarding the case. No details have been disclosed at this time, though Washington was arrested by officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service.
A charity founded by Washington was recently named in two federal court cases in Kansas City. One involves Hall of Fame football player Ronald Mix, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud Monday. According to Rizzo, Mix donated $155,000 over three years to an unnamed person's charity in exchange for consultant work. The person was paid for referring clients to Mix.
It is not clear at this time whether Washington is that person.
Washington, 64, played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors over his 10-year NBA career. He is perhaps best known for nearly killing Houston Rockets forward Rudy Tomjanovich with a punch during an on-court brawl in 1977.
The NBA suspended Washington 26 games for the punch, which was then the longest suspension for an on-court incident in league history.
"All of a sudden, I was ostracized, and I can understand that," Washington said in 2002, per David Leon Moore of USA Today. "People hated me, which I understood. They really hated me. You could sense that. Their eyes were looking at you like, 'I'd like to kill you.' But I understood that. I dealt myself a certain hand. I had to live with that hand. I couldn't turn it in."
Washington played only four more seasons after the punch, retiring at the age of 30. He returned for a six-game stint with the Warriors in 1987-88 after more than a half-decade on the sidelines.
Since his retirement, Washington has largely been known for his charity work. Founded in 1995, Project Contact Africa has spent more than two decades helping raise money and awareness for needs in poverty-stricken parts of Africa.
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