“It was madness. I’ve never seen anything like it. You think some of these guys had off the court issues? It was ten times worse inside the locker room. Some of these guys made Incognito look like Gandhi.”
These are just some of the words in the 550-page independent report released by former Portland Trail Blazers guard Bonzi Wells on the culture inside the Trail Blazers locker room. Wells played for the Trail Blazers from 2000 to 2003, the pinnacle of the time period in which the Trail Blazers were coined the “Jail Blazers” due to countless legal incidents off the court involving multiple players. The Leaveit2Divac investigative team has acquired the document and scoured the contents to provide the most shocking and disturbing incidents revealed by Wells. Here are some of the excerpts that got our attention:
“Two words: Ruben Patterson. It was 2001 when he was brought on. Everyone knew about his past; he was a registered sex offender for the attempted rape of his kid’s nanny. These guys wouldn’t let him forget it. The worst was Shawn Kemp. At least two or three times a week, Shawn would bring in a briefcase full of pictures of his kids’ nannies. I’m talking hundreds of pictures of nannies, each one of them different and extremely graphic. Shawn was even in some of them. He would just dump them in front of Ruben’s locker and usually say something like, “I would’ve run train over your nanny.” He even snuck out of practice once when Coach Cheeks wasn’t paying attention to fill Ruben’s locker with nanny pictures. Thousands of nanny pictures came pouring out. I had just assumed Shawn went to take one of his customary coke breaks, but this almost sent Ruben over the edge. At this point, Shawn became legitimately concerned for his safety. He even sought out extra security personnel for himself and all of his kids that he knew of.”
However, this wasn’t even the worst that Ruben got:
“One time Damon [Stoudamire] caught Ruben jerking it to a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. The guys wouldn’t let him live that down. He was Lubin’ Ruben after that. Rasheed [Wallace] and Zach Randolph were relentless. Those two made his life hell, calling him Lubin’ Ruben every chance they got. Ruben once told me he was contemplating “taking them out in front of everyone in the locker room,” but I talked him out of it. I told him he would probably miss and hit Steve Kerr.”
Ruben got the worst of it, but he wasn’t the only one:
“Darius Miles. Where do I even start with him? He got it pretty bad too. There were multiple times that Rasheed would run into the locker room completely naked, point to his genitals, say “Look, the second biggest bust in the room!,” and then look directly at Darius. Zach and Derek Anderson thought this was the funniest thing. He once even did it on the court when Coach Cheeks wasn’t looking. Come to think of it there were a lot of instances in which Coach Cheeks wasn’t looking. He was oblivious. Try imagining having Stevie Wonder as a basketball coach. That was what it was like.”
Darius Miles missing an uncontested slam dunk.
However, these incidents pale in comparison to this one:
“For the most part, the veterans weren’t subjected to this type of stuff. Pippen, Kerr, Arvydas Sabonis, Dale Davis; these guys were respected. Maybe Rasheed would call Arvydas “Saboners” every once in a while, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. However, the worst incident I can remember involved a respected vet. In 2002, some of us were in the gym before practice when Zach and Jeff McInnis got into a shouting match over hookers or something. This type of stuff happened like every other day so most of us just ignored it. Zach just lost it and fired a 5 lb. plate at Jeff. He missed way high and hit veteran center Chris Dudley in the back of the head. He had no idea what hit him. Zach actually felt pretty bad about it; Rasheed thought it was hysterical. Duds was out cold and we had no idea what to do. Antonio [Daniels], Arvydas, and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje carried him to a massage table and laid him face down so anyone who saw him would just think he was waiting to get a massage. I had about 20 or 25 extra headbands in my locker so I just started wrapping those around Chris’ head to try to stop the bleeding. He woke up about 30 minutes later wondering what happened and why he was wearing 15 headbands. We just blamed it on Lubin’ Ruben. Duds was a real team player and didn’t want this to be a distraction so he just let it go.”
Chris Dudley grabs a rebound as Luc Longley stares in shock and awe.