Wednesday, July 27, 2005

[Kings] Bonzi the Barbarian (2)

Things would be much better if it's just a drip of saliva.

"Getoutta my way, you %&*^ cracker!"

After the accident, according to Portland Tribune and, this is just a tip of the iceberg:

Since near the end of last season, Wells has been accused of making racial comments toward white players three times — twice during the course of a game.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik said he is unaware of such comments by Wells.

“That’s not something that is acceptable in the NBA, but I have never heard this allegation,” said Granik, a member of the league’s front office for more than 20 years. “I’m sure there would be (penalties) if it were true. I can’t say I ever recall such an incident in all my years in the NBA.”


Ferry told teammates that Wells had taunted him in games dating to last season, using an expletive preceding the word “honkie” multiple times. And there have been at least two other times when players accused him of using racial epithets to white players.

During an exhibition game in October, Golden State’s Troy Murphy said Wells repeatedly trash-talked him, using the word “cracker.” Murphy, a second-year forward with the Warriors, said Wells leveled the insult at him several times.

And last April, after a Blazer game at Dallas, guard Nick Van Exel said Wells had scoffed at the Mavericks as “a bunch of soft-assed white boys.” The comments, made public by Van Exel, created a stir in Dallas for a day or two, then drifted into oblivion.

Wells denied that he has spit on Ferry.

Wells refused to comment this week. “I’m cool,” he said —the phrase he uses when he chooses not to speak with reporters.


There was at least one witness — Blazer broadcaster Steve Jones, who made mention of it during the telecast.

“Unfortunately, I saw it,” Jones said Tuesday night. “I don’t know what caused it. Nobody does. Usually something happens to precipitate something like that, but I didn’t see anything. All I know is, there’s not a good history between the two guys.”

Ferry has a reputation as being a clutcher and grabber, and he and Wells have had minor altercations in the past. “A lot of people have trouble with the physical way Danny plays,” said Sacramento Kings assistant coach Terry Porter, the longtime Trail Blazer who played three seasons with the Spurs. “Bonzi is known to have a quick trigger. Sometimes, guys test it and try to get under his skin.”

And it ain't finished here.

This week, Doug Zaleski of the Star-Press newspaper in Muncie, Ind., where Wells grew up, wrote a column headlined, “At 26, Bonzi Wells still hasn’t grown up.” Zaleski, a member of his newspaper’s sports staff for 14 years, covered Wells in high school and saw every game Wells played during his career at Ball State. Muncie, a city of about 70,000, is 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis. Wells continues to make his home there during the offseason.

Among incidents during his pre-NBA years:

  • After his senior year at Muncie Central High, Wells, a runner-up for the state’s “Mr. Basketball” award, was kicked off his Indiana all-star team by unanimous vote of his teammates “because of his selfish attitude,” Zaleski wrote. Wells left the arena at halftime of the first all-star game after an argument with the team’s coach.

  • After his sophomore season, Wells was named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. In an interview with the media, Wells said he intended to change his attitude, in part because of guidance from his father.

    “After I got ejected from the Kent State game, my Dad got on me and got me back in line,” Wells said. “I know sometimes I get kind of haywire and this and that, but I’ve got to get over that. I’ve got to realize there are younger kids out there looking up to me. I need to start leading by example and start acting older than I am.”

  • Less than three weeks later, Wells was arrested for domestic battery after a woman accused him of striking her after she refused to have sex with him. According to police reports, the woman suffered scratches on her arms, neck and one leg, and some of her jewelry was broken.

    Wells was jailed briefly, posted $2,000 bond and was released. He claimed that the two had been arguing when the woman started breaking furniture and other items in his apartment. The prosecutor’s office, citing lack of conclusive evidence, chose not to file criminal charges. Wells was not suspended by the school but was ordered to perform community service.

  • As a college junior, Wells stomped off the court after a loss at Central Michigan, then delivered a slap to the head of Central’s Jerry Glover, who had chased him down to shake hands. On the way to the locker room, according to Zaleski, Wells kicked teammate Randy Zachary down a flight of stairs as the two argued.

    In an interview before his senior season, Wells, who had received eight technicals the previous two seasons, pledged better deportment.

    “I watched a lot of films and saw I was acting like an ass out there,” Wells told the Star-Press at the time. “I saw I was jaw-jacking to a referee or doing things that weren’t right for us to do as a team. … I can’t lead the team in technicals, can’t be yelling at teammates or not clapping when I’m on the bench — all that crazy stuff. That’s no leader right there. That’s a crazy person — a Dennis Rodman.”

    But Wells also said this: “People who like me are the people who know about basketball or played the game or understand the game.” Those who don’t, he said, “are probably just new fans who don’t know much about basketball and don’t understand how hard it is on the court.”

    Zaleski’s take on Wells: “He is the typical pampered high school and college athlete you hear about who thinks he can do no wrong. Everybody always bent over backward to make excuses for Bonzi and allow him to do things. He can be a snake charmer. Underneath the bull, there is a softer side, but he chooses not to use it.

    “He can be engaging and funny. Kids from his neighborhood worship him.”

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