We learned two things earlier this week when Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets stormed the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room looking for a fight after a loss at the Staples Center. One, there are a lot of people in the NBA who seem to hate Austin Rivers, and two, these locker room altercations are more common than people might think. Over the course of the last few days, there have been more than a few former NBA players who have come out and said, "Yeah, stuff like that used to happen all the time. And?"
The latest ex-NBA player to talk about the behind-the-scenes brawls is Chris Webber. The TNT analyst made an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday, and while speaking with Patrick, took a trip down memory lane and remembered the time he stormed the opponent’s locker room and tried to fight Vin Baker. He said Gary Payton egged him on as he attempted to scrap with Payton’s teammate.
"I did get close to him, and if we caught each other, we would have fought," Webber said. "But someone would have broken it up after three seconds, so it wouldn’t have been a fight. But a couple of weeks later, we went out, and we hung out, so it was nothing. But that’s what happens when you have Gary Payton on the team. It just pumps everyone up and makes it an issue."
Webber didn’t go into many specifics about what led up to the fight, but a quick Google search reveals Webber was likely alluding to an incident during and after a game back in November 2000. According to this report, Webber, who was playing with the Sacramento Kings at the time, and Baker, then with the Seattle SuperSonics, were both ejected from a game after Webber started talking trash about how he should have been on the 2000 U.S. men’s basketball Olympic team instead of Baker. That reportedly led to Baker chasing Webber all over the Kings’ arena looking for a fight.
Webber also may have been alluding to a matchup between the Kings and SuperSonics the following month, which featured Baker getting ejected for throwing elbows at Webber. After that game, Webber mocked Baker for making a cameo appearance in a local ballet production.
"I’m not even going to waste my breath saying his name," Webber said after that game. "I just hope I can become as good of an actor as he is, like in The Nutcracker."
Whatever the case, Webber’s story proves that there isn’t anything particularly new about guys getting into fights and arguments in NBA locker rooms. It’s been happening for years now, so the latest locker room altercation between the Rockets and Clippers won’t be the last time it happens.