BOSTON (CBS / AP) — Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird choked his girlfriend multiple times, kicked her and prevented her from leaving his apartment before he collapsed in distress, prosecutors said at his arraignment Thursday.
Bird, 24, was held on $50,000 bail after not-guilty pleas to domestic violence-related charges were entered on his behalf.
Before being drafted by the Celtics, Bird played for the Cal Golden Bears and was a McDonald’s All-American while playing for Salesian High School in Richmond.
Police spoke with Bird’s girlfriend, a student at a local college, at a city hospital after his arrest last Friday, prosecutor Khyati Short said during the hearing.
Bird choked the woman unconscious, threw her against the wall and dragged her by the ankles when she tried to leave his apartment in the city’s Brighton neighborhood, police said.
The ordeal, sparked by what the woman called “trust issues,” went on for several hours, she said, until Bird experienced “seizure-like” symptoms and fell. That’s when the woman left.
Bird spent several days in a hospital.
Bird’s lawyer, former federal prosecutor Brian Kelly, said that his client “understands the seriousness of the allegations” but that there are two sides to the story.
The Celtics called the allegations disturbing and said the team’s “thoughts are with the victim.”
“The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird,” the team said in a statement.
The team notes that domestic violence issues are handled by the NBA’s main office.
Bird said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon that he’s “taking some time away from the team as I deal with my legal and medical issues.”
He apologized to his family, the Celtics, his teammates, fans and the NBA “for the unnecessary distraction that I have caused.”
He also said he doesn’t condone violence against women and hopes eventually to regain the public’s trust.
Bird, a second-round draft choice of the Celtics in 2017 out of California, signed a two-year contract with the team this summer after splitting his rookie season between Boston and the Maine Red Claws of the G-League. He appeared in 13 regular-season games for the Celtics last season, averaging 3 points per game.
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