Monday, August 01, 2005

[Kings] Bonzi the Barbarian (3)

As they said, it takes 2 to tango (or tangle).

Let's shift our focus right onto the beginning of 2003-04 season, the last days before Wells left Portland. Despite he promised to become A Better Bonzi...

Blazer fined Wells after obscene gesture at fan

Wells directed the obscene gesture at a fan who loudly heckled forward Rasheed Wallace during the Blazers' final timeout in the 94-83 loss.

After the game, Wells denied making the gesture. At Tuesday's practice he said he didn't remember it.

"If I did, it was probably wrong, but I don't remember," he said.

He later added: "If something like that did happen, I apologize."


Wells, one of the team's captains, had promised good behavior before the start of the season.

"I'm not going to be 100 percent perfect," he said Tuesday. "I'm going to have a 10 percent lapse sometimes."

Here is the excerpt from John Canzano's article on Dec. 2003, while Bonzi got traded from Memphis to Portland:

The biggest advantage to this trade, the Blazers' dirty little secret, is that they hope this trade even gives Rasheed Wallace a little peace.

Wells was Wallace's No. 1 sycophant. He's Wallace's headbanded sidekick. And by breaking up that duo, the Blazers busted up a budding mutiny.

As they were leaving the practice facility Wednesday, the morning of their final shootaround together, Wells and Wallace saw Ruben Boumtje Boumtje shooting jump shots some 100 feet away with his back turned to them.

Wallace slapped Wells on the back and said, "Watch this." Then he picked up a ball, reared back and fired a 100-foot, baseball-style strike that left Boumtje Boumtje writhing the floor. Trainers were summoned. After a few scary minutes, Boumtje Boumtje walked off, OK.

Wells and Wallace?

They giggled like schoolchildren and ran away the moment their teammate hit the canvas.

Frightening, huh?

Later, there are different explanation coming from Slamonline:

I've since heard from sources in Portland that it actually went down differently. What I heard was that Bonzi and Sheed lofted a ball all the way down the court, trying to scare Ruben. Ruben spun around just as the ball arrived, and it plunked him in the...well, guess where. That's why they laughed. I probably would have laughed, too. Sheed and Bonzi later, I hear, apologized, and all is cool.

(Of course, not only one has been questioned if the prejudices of Canzano has affected in his reports.)

But we got those words from Jason Quick recently:

Bonzi Wells once suggested that he wouldn't be surprised if I showed up to a Trail Blazers practice with a "steak over my eye" if I continued to write negative stories about the team. And Blazers players once escorted me out of a San Antonio locker room to protect me from an erupting, towel-throwing Rasheed Wallace.


And after a year in which Wells spit on Danny Ferry, got kicked out of a Blazers practice, and amid Damon Stoudamire and Wallace getting arrested on marijuana charges, Wells made his threat after we debated the way I covered those events.

"We are all human beings with feelings," Wells said.

And when Wallace was continuing to get technicals, and ejections -- I wanted to know why he couldn't keep his cool.

That's when former Blazers player Steve Smith, then with the Spurs, visited the Blazers locker room and heard my questions being stonewalled (again) by Wallace. Smith chuckled to me, saying, "Same ol' Rasheed, huh?" I told him, 'Some things never change,' prompting Wallace to stand, throw his towel at me, and shout, "Why should I talk to you when all you do is write bad things about us cats?"

It led to a heated exchange, during which Rick Brunson repeatedly told me to "back off," before he and Steve Kerr stepped between us and walked me out of the locker room.

The next day, Brunson told me he was only trying to protect me because there was no telling what Wallace would do in that situation.

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