ROYSJ Update: Ben Wallace told the Chicago Tribune today that while he knowingly broke the team rule banning headbands, he’s “not sorry.” He said he “man enough” to take his punishment, wasn’t trying to challenge head caoch Scott Skiles but that he hopes the team changes the rule. But this is really what matetrs: Wallace also said he has ligament damage and chipped bones in his right hand. That’s more diagnosis than the sprained index finger and wrist contusion the team revealed following an MRI on Monday.
We knew Scott Skiles was tough. We didn’t know he was nuts. Okay not really nuts but with the Bulls all but imploding during the first weeks of the NBA season, the young coach is in the midst of a stare-down with his most important off-season acquisition: Bad Ben Wallace. And my money’s not on the little guy.
The subject of their feud: a headband.
That’s right, Bad Ben’s headband. Bottom line: He wants to wear one but it’s against team policy. (Why? Please tell me why????) The issue came to a head Saturday in New York (as if the Garden needed an accompanying sub-plot to the Knicks own drama) when Skiles held Wallace out of the game in major chunks, allegedly because he refused to toss his red headband. This was one night after Wallace played a season-low 19 minutes and Skiles said the center, and one of the league’s great rebounders, was replaced because he was looking for more rebounding. Ouch.
Of course, it’s much more than this. Wallace was also not enamored of the Bulls’ rule that players must tape their ankles. Because he says taping causes discomfort due to the bone spurs in his feet, Wallace never has taped his ankles and, well, to know how he feels about it, see the above image.
And there was an incident in which Wallace circumvented a rule against loud music in pregame locker rooms by using a headset but hanging it in his locker with the music turned up so loud it filled the room.
The Bulls have other, most important issues to resolve. With eight new players, they’re struggling in several areas. and are tied for last in the Central Division with a 4-9 record.
The only humor in all this is that Wallace has said he’s incensed that the Bulls did not tell him of their rules until after he signed his four-year $60-million deal over the summer. Yeah, like he would have not signed if he’d know his headband would have to be retired. Who’s knows, maybe it’s a Sampson thing and without his headband he’s, well, Eddie Curry.
Real Bottom line: The headband, ankles and music matters are silly, and if they linger, the Bulls might become the most surprisingly disappointing team of the season.
Baller: Ben Wallace
Gamer: Scott Skiles