Hasheem Thabeet was parked just outside the Chicago Bulls dressing room, talking casually with a locker room attendant to kill time.
He was waiting on Bulls forward Taj Gibson to emerge.
But when a reporter walked by, on his way into the visiting locker room inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, Thabeet politely requested the reporter ask Gibson to come out. Gibson, when informed about Thabeet's request, wondered aloud why the Thunder center didn't just enter.
“I play for the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Thabeet explained Sunday. “Why would I go in the Chicago Bulls locker room? I mean, that's a no-brainer.”
Apparently, it isn't so cut and dry to all.
Not five minutes after Thabeet stopped short of crossing that threshold last Thursday night, Bulls center Joakim Noah strolled into the Thunder locker room. Though he was accompanied by friend and former teammate Thabo Sefolosha, Noah promptly drew the ire of Thunder center Kendrick Perkins and teammates.
A verbal disagreement ensued, and a national discussion on locker room etiquette followed.
Most, if not all, agreed that Perkins was right for confronting Noah and requesting that he exit the locker room. Perkins declined to discuss the matter Sunday, but others explained why the locker room is off limits.
“It's like you're coming to work,” said Russell Westbrook. “It's not a playground. You come here to work, like you're coming to your office.”