A verbal spat broke out between teammates inside the Thunder's dressing room following Thursday night's win over CSKA Moscow. The grounds for the back-and-forth were unclear, but the four-man altercation grabbed the attention of everyone in the room.
Russell Westbrook and Daequan Cook formed an alliance from one corner of the locker room. Royal Ivey and Jeff Green teamed up at the other.
Westbrook and Ivey were responsible for the bulk of the jawing, Westbrook advising Ivey to run to his "big brother" and next-cubicle neighbor Green and Ivey warning Westbrook to, "stay on the west side" and out of business going on over on the "east side."
The playful squabble showed how, in less than a month, Ivey has firmly endeared himself to his new teammates. It's what Ivey has become known for throughout his six NBA seasons. As a member of the Thunder, though, Ivey's respect hasn't come without a little good-natured ribbing.
"It's funny because now I'm one of the oldest guys," said Ivey, who turns 29 on Dec. 20. "I'm the third oldest guy on the team and I'm like, I don't feel old, I feel young. I kid around with the guys. They call me OG (original gangster), and they call Mo Pete triple OG."
Ivey just soaks it up. Every bit of it. He relishes his elder statesman status. Each year he sees another season is another he never was supposed to play.
"Nobody gave me a chance to even get drafted," said Ivey, who Atlanta selected 37th overall in 2004 out of Texas. "When I got drafted, they said, 'He might not make the team.' And this is my seventh year. It's a blessing.
"I keep on working and working and working. I'm glad where I'm at right now, but I still got work to do."
Ivey's work ethic is what attracted the Thunder's front office to him in late July, when the team signed him to a one-year deal with an option for a second season. Thunder general manager Sam Presti at one point this summer had more than $7 million to spend on an impact free agent. He made Ivey his lone free-agent signing.
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