Three Bean Poles. Two Fights. One Good Laugh.
August, 3, 2005
From what I have heard, fistfights are not all that uncommon in NBA practices. In today's Oregonian, John Canzano has the story of three beanpoles (Ha Seung Jin, Nedzad Sinanovic, and a wooden dowel) mixing it up in the spirit of, as Canzano tells it, good ol' competition.
And as the players usually do at the end of a workout, that particular Friday the two were shooting free throws together in silence.
That is, until Sinanovic made his final free throw, then retrieved the basketball and held it. Ha walked over and snatched it back. Then, Sinanovic said something under his breath and two men -- 7-4 and 7-3 -- ended up on the ground in a pile of wildly swinging elbows and fists.
The fight was broken up by Blazers staffers, and insiders said Ha, who got punched, was left shouting, "I'll sue! I'll sue!"
The two were escorted to different areas of the practice facility, and normally the story would end here. Except Ha's neutral corner was the team weight room. And so he picked up one of those wooden poles that players use to stretch and went after Sinanovic, who blocked one swing with his forearm but took another in the ribs before someone ripped the pole (think: closet dowel) from Ha's hands and threw it across the courts.
Now, violence isn't funny. And Ha is lucky he didn't injure Sinanovic with that pole. But this doesn't feel as sinister as some of the old Blazers antics. And you'll know this because your friends are going to giggle and shake their heads when you tell them about it.
This isn't the same as Zach Randolph cold-cocking Ruben Patterson two seasons ago, breaking his eye socket, then being chased around the facility, and later having to spend the night, in hiding, at Dale Davis' house because Randolph feared for his life.
The Ha-Sinanovic bout was about good competition, and frustration, and boiling points. And Nash said the players were fine with each other and even hanging out 24 hours after one was trying to shish kebob the other.