Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has made a habit out of protecting his court. With the Defensive Player of the Year hardware recently added to his mantle, one thing has become clear: "His court" is found inside all 30 NBA arenas.
Not everyone around the league is willing to cede that type of control, though. Washington Wizards security manager Jackie Miles is apparently one of those people.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Miles tried to force Noah off the Verizon Center floor while the center was finishing his workout during Chicago's Friday morning shootaround. Miles' attempt went as well (see: horribly) as you would expect.
Miles came onto the Verizon Center hardwood and started screaming for Bulls players to exit so the Wizards could start their shootaround. Noah is usually the last Bull off the court in shootarounds, going through his morning routine, and wasn’t having any of it.
Noah told Miles, "Get the [bleep] out of here, I’m not done … get the [bleep] out of here."
Miles started firing back with, "Don't [bleeping] talk to me that way," and then again telling Noah to leave the court.
I'm not sure if we should be lauding Miles' bravery or bashing his craziness. If nothing else, we should probably be thankful this was a verbal altercation and nothing more.
Stepping on Noah's toes seems about as much fun as planting your own foot inside a bear trap. Or skydiving without a parachute. Or watching Roy Hibbert's post-All-Star break offensive highlights.
No one would willingly subject themselves to such punishment. Well, no one other than Miles.
As Cowley noted—somehow without the use of double-digit exclamation points—"this wasn't the first time it happened."
"In a visit to the nation's capital back in January," Cowley wrote, "Miles pulled the same thing, yelling to Bulls players to get off 'my court.'"
If Bulls-Wizards wasn't already your favorite playoff series, it is now. While the rest of us have been waiting for the bad blood to boil over during an on-court clash between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, this Eastern Conference pairing has provided verbal sparring sessions during morning workouts.
It's so unbelievable, it has to be true.
"Guy’s a clown," a person from the Bulls' traveling party said of Miles, via Cowley.
Look, Noah's style isn't for everyone. The next fan he has inside the Cleveland city limits will be his first.
But if you're going to hate on the guy, do what any reasonable person would do and hate from a distance—a safe distance.
"I remember one day," Noah said while picking up his DPOY award, via NBA.com's Steve Aschburner, "Thibs was putting me through a real brutal workout. I said, 'If we weren’t winning games, I would really, really hate you.' He said, 'Trust me, Jo. I would feel the same way about you.'"
Noah lives under his opponents' skin. Why anyone would voluntarily open a path for him to crawl inside is beyond me. If you feel like barking up that tree (a "Don't Try This at Home" warning feels appropriate here), you'll do so at your own risk.
For the record, the verbal exchange had no tangible effect. "Noah finished the rest of his routine, and did so on his own schedule," Cowley added.
The Bulls and Wizards will lock horns again for Game 3 Friday night (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). You might want to tune in early, though, in case any fireworks erupt from the pregame layup lines.