In recent days Clipper Chris Wilcox and Maverick free agent Alan Henderson were both busted with guns. There have been plenty of similar stories in the past. At FOXSports.com, Charley Rosen is wondering what's going on, and unemployed USBL coach, and former NBA superstar, Darryl Dawkins has lots of answers. In a nutshell: everyone's trying to impress the women. (Although he also has a story about a guard pulling a gun on a big man who wanted the ball too much.) Dawkins says most players don't know how to handle guns safely:
"They don't respect the danger," he says, "or the harm that guns can cause. I see guys in just about every locker room getting dressed after games and their final accessory is the gun that they stick down the front of their pants. They do this so that the handle shows and everybody knows not to mess with them."
For what it's worth, it's not clear which league Dawkins is talking about here, the NBA, or the USBL where he last worked.
I've seen plenty of NBA players get dressed, and I've never seen one gun. NBA players tend to assume their possessions aren't safe in the locker room (from media to ballboys, there are hundreds of people going through there-plus remember then Sixers' owner Pat Croce's brother got busted rifling through players' clothes and taking money?) so their valuables are locked away with the trainer. That means, to bring a gun to an NBA game a player would have to leave it at risk of being stolen or mishandled, or have the team in some kind of collusion.
Besides, practically every time an NBA player gets dressed after a game, there's a bunch of reporters watching.
It certainly could have happened, but the way Dawkins describes it strains credibility.
This story also mentions Steve Stipanovich. Remember him? He was the guy whose injuries made playing time for Rik Smits and launched the Dutchman's Indiana career. Lots of articles I just looked up refer to Stipanovich's retiring because of a bad knee (and here) or a freak foot problem. But Dawkins and several articles say that in fact Stipanovich's career was ended by the injury he got from shooting himself in the foot with his own gun. (Wikipedia, in its group-think wisdom, ducks the issue deftly.) Dawkins said it happened in 1988 and ended Stipo's career. But at least one fan has vivid memories of the shooting taking place years earlier, in college. Can anyone help me out here?