Roy Hibbert: 'I Was Wrong' to Call out Indiana Pacers Teammates in Media

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 19, 2014

Mar 30, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) reacts in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is a fashion-conscious league, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert is fashionably late to this party.

According to the big man, tossing his teammates under the Pacers bus as it careened off a cliff might not have been the best idea.

"I think that I should've kept my frustrations to myself or just in the locker room," Hibbert said during an appearance on ESPN First Take (via ESPN.com). "I will admit that it wasn't the best thing to do. I'll learn from that, and I was wrong."

Nov 11, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers from left to right forward David West, guard George Hill, guard Lance Stephenson, forward Paul George, and center Roy Hibbert watch the Pacers extend their winning streak to 8-0 against the Memphis Grizz
USA TODAY Sports

I suppose he deserves some credit for looking in the mirror, even if the rest of us have been cringing since his first criticism hit the printing press. Second chances are never on short supply in the sports world.

Hibbert's initial cringe-worthy comments were nothing short of reckless. He blindly dubbed some locker room mates as "some selfish dudes," via NBA.com's David Aldridge, and never bothered putting a face to those nameless players. Whatever he was trying to accomplish didn't work—the Pacers were out of sorts before his media-aided attack, and they've yet to find their form.

What makes this tale even more troubling is the fact Hibbert has played as big a role as anyone in Indiana's slide from nearly invincible (46-13 through Mar. 2) to uncomfortably vulnerable (10-13 since). The 27-year-old made the second All-Star appearance of his career in February, but he seems to move further from that lofty status with each passing day.

Roy Hibbert's Monthly Slide in 2014
MonthPPGFG%RPGOff RtgDef Rtg
Jan.11.341.96.910296
Feb.9.846.37.19798
Mar.9.742.24.694106
Apr.5.323.53.265111
Basketball-Reference.com

He could leave these face-palming narratives behind him if he can find his form in the second season. If this is the Hibbert the Pacers are getting for their playoff run, though, Indiana is on a crash course with disaster.

"A regular-season slump is one thing," Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star wrote. "It just can't continue in the postseason, or the Pacers, who are capable of reaching the NBA Finals or getting popped in the first round, will be in deep trouble."

AJ MAST

Owning up to his mistake, even one as mindless as this was, is a start. Not everyone is willing to take that step.

This isn't the last stop on the road to forgiveness, though. Hibbert needs to back up these words with actions, not simply by avoiding a repeat media mistake but also by setting a standard with his on-court performance.

A standard Hibbert hasn't lived up to for quite some time. But just as this admission showed, a late arrival is so much better than completely missing the festivities.