Harlem All Stars Basketball comedian defends antics in court
BRIDGEPORT — Kevin “Showboat” Jackson has starred in basketball gyms around the country, but he was dreading stepping into the small fourth-floor court in the Fairfield County Courthouse Thursday afternoon to defend the antics of the comedy basketball game.
None of the trick shots he is famous for would help him in front of Superior Court Judge George Thim.
“I’m sure you’ve watched the Harlem Globetrotters,” Jackson told the judge as he settled his nearly 7-foot frame into the small witness chair.
“Not recently,” responded the judge, not looking up from his laptop on the bench.
Jackson, the star of the Harlem All Stars, is being sued by Jeremy Stein, the executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, for an incident on Nov. 21, 2015, when Stein claims Jackson dropped him on his head during a charity basketball game in the Newtown High School gym.
Jackson represented himself during the one-day trial. He said earlier he felt he could do a better job than a lawyer.
“People are suing for everything, everything is about money and greed,” he told Hearst Connecticut Media. “It’s like that woman who sued McDonald’s after she spilled coffee on herself and said McDonald’s makes the coffee too hot.”
Following testimony, Judge Thim reserved decision in the case.
At the time of the game, Stein was a member of the Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue team and a top litigator for a prominent Boston law firm, none of which he was able to do after the incident, he claims.
“During the game, I stole the ball from him and made a basket,” Stein testified Thursday. “I don’t know if he (Jackson) was unhappy that I stole the ball from him, but as I was coming back he picked me up, turned me upside down and began spinning me. I kept telling him to put me down, but he was grinning at me.”
Stein continued that he fell head first onto the gym floor.
“I grabbed my head because I was in such pain. I felt Mr. Jackson jostle me and everything went black,” he said.
He said his wife took him to Danbury Hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion and traumatic brain injury. Doctors later told him to avoid bright lights and anything with a lighted screen.
A month later, Stein said he was in Toys R Us to buy Christmas presents for his children.
“I began to see spots and the noises made it unbearable. I was unable to pick out a Christmas gift for my son,” he said, his eyes tearing up. “What he did to me changed my life. I don’t think he meant to drop me, but he did anyway, and he robbed me of my family,” Stein said.
Jackson told the judge he has performed the same antics during the hundreds of games he does with the team and no one else ever got hurt or sued him.
“I’m a good showman, a trickster,” he testified. “I go in to do a show to entertain people, to make them laugh. Does everything go as planned, no, sometimes things happen but it’s not intentional. I didn’t intentionally want to drop him (Stein) and I hope he makes a full recovery, but I can’t stop from putting smiles on kids’ faces.”
Jackson then strode over to shake Stein’s hand.
“I’m very sorry about the accident,” he told Stein.