Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has always reminded me of that buddy you have from your college days that never quite grew up. Apparently that lack of maturity got the better of him Sunday night as the Bulls fell to the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena 96-85 in the third game of the Eastern Conference Finals. According to reports published by the “Chicago Tribune” and “ESPN.com” Noah’s emotions seemed to have gotten the better of him as he allegedly swore and then insulted a Miami fan with an anti-gay slur in the first quarter of the contest. Noah was called for a foul with 6:26 in the period and when he came back to the bench he allegedly responded to a fan who was heckling him.
Noah issued an apology through the media for his remarks after completion of the game. The big man said “I apologize. The fan said something to me that I thought was disrespectful, and I got caught up in the moment, and I said some things that I shouldn’t have said. I was frustrated and I don’t mean no disrespect to anybody. I just got caught up.”
This is the second time in the last couple of months that an incident of this kind occurred during an NBA game. Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 after making similar remarks during a regular season contest on April 12, against the San Antonio Spurs. NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a statement at that time stating that was unacceptable behavior for an NBA player and could not be tolerated.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank told members of the media that he had no comment on the incident when questioned. Noah will assuredly be fined for the incident and it remains to be seen if he will be suspended for his remarks. The Bulls trail Miami 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals with game four of the series to be played in Miami on Tuesday night.