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Were you that tight with them to take that kind of risk?
I put my career on the line twice. We were all basically the same age on a young, fiery team who had its share of legal struggles. We all grew up basically in the hood, so we related to each other.
So when Ron went into the stands, I didnít think twice about it because he was my brother. I just went up there.
Weird question, but to battle like that Ö was it fun at all?
When I hit that fan, I definitely enjoyed it -- until that fine came down. That $3 million I lost killed me. It brought me back to reality because I could have lost my job.
It was wild because it had never been done before. And it will never happen again so, yeah, adrenaline was flowing. How many people can say that theyíve punched a fan?
Do you know all the stuff that they say to us? The racist stuff they say to us? We get the N-word and people talking about our wives and family.
Just because we make a lot of money weíre supposed to be the bigger person? Fans tell us that our kids are ugly and that they should have thrown our mothers in jail for having us. Thatís not disrespectful?
Iíve been in a lot of fights and done some things I shouldnít have done, but Iíve never sold drugs or been locked up, so for people to think that way about me isnít right.
They had life-size posters of me in Utah with me behind bars. Before the situation with Jamaal Tinsley, I had never been in jail, and Iím from the projects!
Do you regret the Palace brawl?
No. Because the idea of Ron laying in the stands unconscious with all his teeth knocked out Ö no way. That whole arena was against and I didnít have it in my heart not to do anything.
What was it like in the locker room immediately after that?
The funniest thing in the world. Ron leans over to me and asks me if weíre going to get into trouble! I looked at him like he was crazy. We laughed so hard. Jamaal fell out of his locker.
I looked at Ron and asked him, ďDo you realize what we just did? Weíre lucky if we have a job tomorrow.Ē
We just went into the stands. We just banged out on fans. Are you serious? Trouble? I couldnít believe he asked me that.
How did you get through all that?
When Donnie Walsh was in Indiana with me, he had my back. He knew my heart and knew what kind of person I was. I would have never went in the stands on my own. I would have never shot up a strip club on my own.
It was always to help somebody, so when people say that type of stuff, it definitely pisses me off.
So what happened with the strip club incident?
I was there with Jamaal and some friends just for a night of fun and everything was cool. At the end of the night, I was in my car ready to leave.
Then I seen Jamaal walk out of the club with some guy walking behind him with hands in his back pocket like he was fixing to shoot him.
I hopped out of my car with my gun. I had a gun license at the time so it was all good. People think I was shooting up the place willy-nilly, but my gun was registered.
I saw the guy with his hand in his pocket so I cocked my gun and put it in his face. I slapped him with the gun and we got to fighting before I realized they had planned to jump Jamaal.
Iíve been in too many club fights not to know whatís going on. Iím not going to get hit from behind, stomped out and just be laying there. So all of a sudden all these cars pull up and I let off a couple warning shots, like telling everyone to back up.
After that had happened, dude had jumped in his car and planned on trying to kill me. He hit me with his car. He drove straight into me and I flipped up in the air and landed face-first on the ground and knocked all my teeth out.
I hopped right up and lit his whole car up. I didnít think twice because Iím figuring he tried to smoke Jamaal.
This is not an everyday situation. Were you worried that you could have killed somebody?
No, because he tried to kill me. I knew it was self-defense. He hit me with his car at 45 mph in the parking lot. He tried to kill me. I was cool. I didnít have one drink that night.
As I was walking to my car and he was coming straight for me, Iím glad I was sober where I could think, and I just turned sideways. I hit the windshield and flipped up in the air; then I hit the ground.
I had to get plastic surgery on my lips with no anesthesia, with all my teeth gone. Can you imagine how painful that is?
Your career could have ended that night.
That night. Thatís why I know Iím here for a reason. My life is bigger than basketball.
Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13