Noah plays down locker-room-visit controversy
By Joe Cowley email@example.com December 21, 2013 12:06PM
Updated: December 21, 2013 9:51PM
Joakim Noah admitted Saturday morning he was wrong for going into the Oklahoma City locker room Thursday night after the Bulls lost to the Thunder, but that doesn’t mean the Bulls center didn’t take a couple of shots at Kendrick Perkins.
“I shouldn’t have been in that locker room in the first place, and you know, just wanted to say hi to some loved ones,” Noah said. “[Thunder guard] Thabo [Sefolosha] is family, that’s it. It’s not a big deal. Perk is an angry dude, it’s all good.”
It was after Noah had showered and met with the media that he headed over to enemy territory, and while inside the home team’s locker room, Perkins said to him, “They just let anybody in the locker room?” After the two went back and forth, Noah finally said, “If you want me to wait outside, I’ll wait outside.”
Perkins responded, “Get your [butt] up outta here.”
Noah did admit that NBA security called him on the incident, but downplayed any history with Perkins and the idea that it was a big story.
“Nah, no history at all, man, no history at all,” Noah said. “Guys c’mon, it’s not that serious. I know you guys are probably bored right now. We’re losing and there’s nothing to do, nothing else to talk about, but it’s not a big deal. Just waking up in the morning, having to talk to NBA security, c’mon let’s move on. I’ve got a game tonight, it’s not a big deal. No big deal.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau coached Perkins in Boston, and wasn’t surprised the veteran reacted that way. Especially when the unwritten rule is it’s OK to go into the opposing locker room only if a player was once part of that organization.
“If he’s played and wants to come in and say hello to his old teammates and trainers and people like that, he does,” Thibodeau said. “We allow that. It’s more or less frowned upon to go into someone’s locker room where you haven’t played.
“That’s normal [how Perkins responded]. That’s usually how teams respond.”
Kirk Hinrich [back] was a game-time decision against the Cavaliers, but sounded optimistic that he would play, while Jimmy Butler [ankle] and Luol Deng [Achilles] were ruled out.