Nenad Krstic threw some punches, then threw a chair and finally threw away his anonymity.
Until Thursday, the Thunder center belonged to the Tall Europeans Club, that anonymous collection of players who are not Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James' sidekick (Z-man Zydrunas Ilgauskas) or Dwight Howard's backup (Martin Gortat).
Johan Petro, ZaZa Pachulia, Nikola Pekovic, Vladimir Radmanovic, Sasha Pavlovic, Primoz Brezec, Semih Erden, Kyrylo Fesenko, Oleksiy Pecherov, Krstic.
If you can tell those guys apart, you're an NBA junkie or one of them plays in your city.
Now Krstic is a household name on the hardwood, for his stupid acts in an exhibition tournament in Athens. When emotions flared during a game between the Greeks and Krstic's Serbs, Krstic lost his head.
He punched Greece's Sofoklis Schortsanitis several times in the back of the head while Schortsanitis slugged a fallen Serb. Then Krstic retreated like Carmelo Anthony, who four years ago popped a Knickerbocker then backpedaled like he'd turned into the wrong Baltimore alley.
Finally, Krstic threw a chair at Schortsanitis; it instead struck Ioannis Bourousis and caused a neck cut.
Thankfully, this didn't turn into Pacers-Pistons, but not for lack of trying.
And Krstic's reputation has some restoration to do.
Two days ago, he was a good-shooting, solid-rebounding, occasionally-acceptable-defending 7-footer. He wasn't an all-star, never going to be, but a solid player, so long as you don't expect him to log 32 minutes a game.
Now, justified or not, Krstic is known on both sides of the Atlantic as a cheap-shot goon.
One bad night in Greece shouldn't define a guy, but it certainly can. We know Krstic on the Oklahoma prairie as a soft-spoken, low-maintenance guy. Sometimes we wish he'd show the desire to bash a few heads.
When I think of Krstic, I think of our conversation last December, when he talked about the homesickness he feels, missing the holidays with his family back in Serbia. The Christmas Eve feast, the Christmas morning church service.
But international basketball can be a little more passionate than the NBA. The brawl is being investigated by Greece's sports violence squad. If you've got a sports violence bureau, these things have happened before.
Serbian coach, Dusan Ivkovic, said Krstic acted in self-defense, which is nonsense to anyone who has seen the videos.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he has spoken with Krstic, and "he recognizes this is an unfortunate situation. He's regretful."
Presti said Krstic, who was detained for awhile by Athens police, has apologized to the Greek National Team and individual players. Presti said Krstic plans to play for Serbia in the World Championships, which begin next week.
Krstic is a patriotic guy. He's captain and sole NBA veteran of a young Serbian national team which is building for the future.
Here's the crazy part. Serbia and Greece are friends. U.S.-Canada type friends. This was U.S.-Canada. Greece and Serbia have been aligned at the hip for centuries. In wars together since the Middle Ages. In religion together, with the Eastern Orthodox church. Greeks invest in the Serbian economy; Serb tourists committed to visit struggling Greece this summer.
Several years ago, some suggested a Greek-Serbia confederation, along with Macedonia.
This was no holy war. This was just a basketball game gone bad.
Is it an NBA career gone bad? Doesn't have to be, even though Krstic is coming up on the final year of his OKC contract, Presti has been consistent with a no-knucklehead policy and the Thunder took Cole Aldrich in the NBA Draft, as an obvious, eventual replacement for Krstic.
The NBA is a forgiving league, the U.S. is a forgiving nation and Americans are forgiving sports fans. This doesn't have to brand Nenad Krstic. Except now everyone will be able to pick him out of the European crowd.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.