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Bulls’ Joakim Noah: $50,000 fine for gay slur is fair

Joakim Noah who wanted put gay-slur incident behind him had six points 14 rebounds Game 4. |  Marc Serota~Getty

Joakim Noah, who wanted to put the gay-slur incident behind him, had six points and 14 rebounds in Game 4. | Marc Serota~Getty Images

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Updated: June 26, 2011 12:41AM

MIAMI — Calling his $50,000 fine for responding to an abusive fan with a gay slur ‘‘fair,’’ Bulls center Joakim Noah said Tuesday that he wanted to put the incident behind him and concentrate on helping the Bulls advance.

‘‘I made a mistake,’’ Noah said. ‘‘I’ll learn from it and move on.’’

Asked about receiving a lesser fine than the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who was fined $100,000 for making an anti-gay remark to a referee last month, Noah said that didn’t matter to him one way or another.

‘‘I didn’t really know what my fine would be,’’ he said. ‘‘I was just ready to face the consequences and move on and get ready for this game. I don’t want to be a distraction to this team.’’

Noah said he wasn’t thinking about the reception he might receive at American Airlines Arena for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. Nor did he put in a request for extra security around the Bulls’ bench.

‘‘That’s the last of my worries, to be honest,’’ Noah said. ‘‘I’m not worried about extra security at all.’’

The King’s take

Miami Heat forward LeBron James, who has taken his share of abuse from heckling fans, sympathized with Noah’s misstep.

‘‘It’s unfortunate,’’ James said. ‘‘I don’t think Joakim is that person. Like he said, he’s not that [prejudiced] guy. He made a mistake, and he’s paying the price for it. All of us understand there are times when you become emotional. Things get said that you don’t mean. You just have to be more careful. Understand that there are kids watching, people watching, that look up to us as role models.’’

Rose’s tests easier

While highly supportive of Noah, Bulls guard Derrick Rose said he doesn’t have to hear the same kind of abuse.

‘‘I don’t get that type of stuff,’’ Rose, one of the NBA’s most popular players, said when asked about the worst insult hurled his way. ‘‘If anything, people say the SAT thing, and that’s about it. I laugh it off.’’

The SAT taunt refers to allegations that another person took Rose’s SAT when he was a senior at Simeon High School. Those allegations landed Memphis, where he played college ball, in NCAA hot water.

Best defense?

For all the chatter about the Heat’s high-octane offense, Rose believes the Heat is the best defensive team the Bulls have encountered all season.

‘‘Right now, yes,’’ Rose said. ‘‘They’re very solid. All of them know their role on the defensive end. They have athletic guys. Somebody’s always contesting shots. They’re playing very good defense right now.’’

James, for all his scoring acrobatics, emphatically said defense is more important to the Heat than scoring.

‘‘Defense. That’s all for us. Period,’’ James said. ‘‘We don’t care too much about offense. We have enough guys that can go out and do things offensively. We care more about getting stops than we do about getting out on the break. We love locking down on our opponents.’’

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