Bulls’ Mohammed: NBA culture too close for bullying
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter November 9, 2013 12:58AM
Updated: December 11, 2013 6:26AM
Sixteen NBA seasons and Bulls veteran big man Nazr Mohammed says he has never witnessed bullying.
Hundreds of different teammates and Mohammed says he has never seen a white player given ‘‘honorary black man status’’ allowing him to use the N-word at will.
‘‘I’m close with Kirk [Hinrich], and I’m really close with [the Oklahoma City Thunder’s] Nick Collison, and how does a conversation like that even start?’’ he said.
So there are layers to the Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga that just don’t translate. The NBA is different. Far fewer players, more traveling and more games means more time together.
‘‘You can’t really compare football and basketball physicality, so different make-up of athletes,’’ Mohammed said. ‘‘I couldn’t imagine being with 50-some guys. I mean, it would be impossible to really know your teammates. With us, it’s 13 or 14 guys on a team, so you know your guys.’’
The curtain has been pulled back on the locker-room culture of professional sports in the last week, and many who don’t understand it suddenly don’t like seeing how the steak is prepared.
In the NBA, Mohammed said, it’s not about rookie hazing but rather rookie ‘‘chores.’’
‘‘I don’t like the word ‘hazing,’ ’’ he said. ‘‘Hey, when I was a rookie, you were responsible for little chores that guys needed like soap, lotion, cigarettes, but I never thought of that as hazing. That’s your rookie chores.’’
To a certain point.
Said one younger Bulls player about the Incognito-Martin situation, ‘‘There’s a line, and if it gets crossed, someone has to get punched in the mouth.’’
Player of the week
Paul George, Indiana Pacers forward. George averaged 25.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals in a 5-0 start.
Team of the week
Pacers. They wanted to send an early message to the rest of the Central Division and did, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons and the Bulls by an average of 13.3 points.
The big five
1. Pacers. 2. Miami Heat. 3. Golden State Warriors. 4. San Antonio Spurs. 5. Thunder.
Awful for Ansrew
The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Utah Jazz. 2. Boston Celtics. 3. Sacramento Kings.
4Bulls guard Derrick Rose has 17 career games in which he has shot worse than 27 percent, and four of those games have come against the Heat.
Two to watch
† Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers, 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. A Western Conference finals preview or just another tease by a Clippers team that seems better suited for the regular season than a deep playoff run?
† Pacers at Bulls, 7 p.m. next Saturday. Ding, ding, Round 2. The Pacers handled the Bulls in their first meeting, and George spouted off afterward that ‘‘this is a new age.’’ Now he’ll have a chance to back that up.