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Noah's intrusion into Thunder locker room may have breached NBA etiquette

by Berry Tramel Published: December 22, 2013

photo - For many NBA players, including the Thunder, the locker room is a sanctuary.  Photo by John Clanton, The Oklahoman Archives. Photo illustration.
For many NBA players, including the Thunder, the locker room is a sanctuary. Photo by John Clanton, The Oklahoman Archives. Photo illustration.

Dwyane Casey doesn't like opponents coming into his Toronto Raptors locker room. He believes the locker room is more sanctuary than social club.

“You have to have some sanctity,” Casey said. “I have lot of friends in the NBA, but I don't like buddy buddy … the guy's trying to take your livelihood.”

But Casey doesn't have a rule against it. “I don't like it,” Casey said. “I don't know how you police it.”

Here's how you police it. Kendrick Perkins.

The Thunder's bad cop cleaned up the streets Thursday night, voicing his displeasure at Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah entering the Thunder locker room.

After a short but heated (at least on Perk's part) exchange, Noah left.

And the NBA rallied around Perkins.

Shaquille O'Neal, a noted Perkins critic, supported Perkins.

So did Shawn Marion, who likened opponents in the locker room to taking somebody into the bathroom with you.

Even Noah himself admitted he shouldn't have been there.

“It's no big deal,” Noah told Chicago media. “I shouldn't have been in that locker room in the first place. Just wanted to say hi to some loved ones, Thabo's family. That's it. It's not a big deal. Perk is an angry dude. It's all good."

Perkins stays lathered up a good part of the time, that's true. Which makes him an outlier in a league in which players frequently change teams (Sefolosha and Noah once were Chicago teammates) and play international ball together and train together in the offseason.

Heck, Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson famously exchanged a kiss before the NBA Finals in 1988. That was 26 seasons ago.

“The fraternization is a fine line in the NBA,” Casey said. “Guys are friends, guys are buddies. But the locker room is your home.”

Most Thunder players agreed. Russell Westbrook voiced support for Perkins on Thursday night. Kevin Durant did so Sunday.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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