Usually after a tough home loss, the locker room is a refuge for players to rewind & find an escape from the fans you just let down. Usually.
But such wasn’t the case for Mickael Pietrus on Sunday. Not so soon after his Orlando Magic lost a close Game 1 to the visiting Sixers, Pieturs had to put up with some slight slighting while leaving the locker room. It’s bad enough to hear it from the stands - now you can’t even shower & dress up without getting dressed down by the paying public?
But it’s not really a case of an overzealous fan slipping by security. The ORLANDO SENTINEL’s MAGIC BASKETBLOG explains that right outside the team’s locker room sits “Blue”, an exclusive club “where well-heeled season-ticket holders congregate to eat, drink and be merry.” And paying the big bucks allows these fans the chance to get up close & personal with the Magic players - apparently even too personal.
After the loss to the Sixers, Pietrus was in no mood to stop & chat with the Blue crew - which apparently made one club customer a bit red:
Pleading by some fans did not persuade Pietrus to turn back. A security guard and Pietrus himself told me that somebody yelled, “Better go work on your jump-shot!”
Another man in the club then got into a verbal confrontation with the heckler and remarked, along the lines of, ”We don’t treat our players like that!”
Then Mickael shot back some not-safe-for-print insults at the heckler before diving into the drunken crowd, throwing fists left & right before an army of security guards could pull him away.
Actually, no, that didn’t happen.
“I just kept walking,” said Pietrus, the most mellow and happy-go-lucky of men. “Somebody probably had too much beer. Just one of those days, right?”
Still, maybe the Magic should start taking more precautions with clubbers being in such close range. Jokes about jump shots might soon lead to all-out verbal & physical assaults by pickled patrons.
I suggest having Dwight Howard come out first, so he can disperse any unruly crowds with his own personal gas attacks.