By Ben Golliver
Two-time NBA champion D.J. Mbenga reportedly was in a late-night altercation with Dallas police officers that ended with his arrest on public intoxication charges early Tuesday morning.
Dallas-area television station WFAA.com reported that Mbenga, best known as a comic foil for his former Los Angeles Lakers teammates, allegedly challenged one of the police officers to a fight before being led out of Buzzbrews Kitchen in handcuffs.
The document says Mbenga was attempting to exit the Buzzbrews Kitchen at 4 a.m. Tuesday as a pair of Dallas police officers were walking in. The 7-foot Center put his palm on one's chest and said, “You move out of my way.”
The officer stopped and responded, “You don’t touch police, let alone make that statement.” The incident report then says Mbenga said, “You want to go? I do what I want, so you move out of the way!”
The officers smelled alcohol on the 32-year-old’s breath, who also had “unsteady balance” and bloodshot eyes. Mbenga was escorted out of the restaurant but continued to argue with the officers. The police report says he was cuffed and failed three of six field sobriety tests.
Somehow, someway, the police report makes no mention of Mbenga dropping the true classic in these situations: "Do you know who I am?"
The answer to that question, had Mbenga gone there, might have been a confused glance. Over a seven-year NBA career with the Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets, Mbenga holds career averages of just 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.7 minutes per game.
Mbenga was recently signed by the Dallas Mavericks to a non-guaranteed training camp contract. The Dallas Morning News reported in September that the Mavericks were possibly eyeing Mbenga for their D-League affiliate, but he was released just days later. He hadn't yet caught on with another NBA team during the preseason.
The Congolese 7-footer was a member of the 2009 and 2010 title-winning Lakers squads, helping carve a niche for himself by dying his hair blonde, loving tacos, bombarding Kobe Bryant with texts messages and apparently dropping a profanity on former teammate Sasha Vujacic. But his most memorable NBA moment came when Blake Griffin posterized him during the 2009 preseason with a vicious one-hand slam that helped kick-start the Los Angeles Clippers forward's reputation as the league's premier dunker.