On December 9, 1977, during an NBA game between the Lakers and the Houston Rockets, a scuffle broke out between several players at midcourt. Kermit Washington (born September 17, 1951 in Washington, D.C.) punched and nearly killed Rudy Tomjanovich, and resulted in in severe medical problems that ultimately ended his playing career. The episode changed the lives and careers of the two players and changed the NBA rules regarding on-court fights. During Washington's playing career - he was drafted fifth overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1973 NBA Draft and played for the Lakers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors - and after his retirement, he has struggled with the negative perception of him that resulted from that punch.
NBA TV examined Washington's life in the one-hour special "Searching for Redemption: The Kermit Washington Story". Narrated by actor/director Forrest Whitaker, "Searching for Redemption" follows Washington from the playgrounds of Washington, D.C. to the slums of Nairobi, Kenya where he currently works to rebuild lives.