Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said he has decided to put an end to his in-game "finger gun" routine that he typically does after hitting a big shot, less than a week after a man walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. and shot and killed 26 people, 20 of them children.
Noah, who holds French, American and Swedish citizenship, said the decision was made not just because of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week; he feels that people need to be sensitive to the idea that gun violence has become "out of control" in the United States, pointing to Chicago as an area of particular concern for him, according to Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com:
“It wasn’t just what happened in Connecticut. You just have to be kind of compassionate about what’s going on, man. We have issues with guns. Gun violence in this country is out of control and you’ve just got to be sensitive to that. I love this country. This country did so much for me. [B]ut I think it’s important to be more critical and we have issues. I feel just as American as I do French and the issues are complicated, but you’ve got to be sensitive and a lot of kids are dying. In Chicago, a lot of kids are dying in the streets, so that’s why I’m not doing that anymore.”
The Bulls are currently at the top of the Central Division with a record of 14-10. Their most recent win Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics came largely at the hands of Noah, who recorded his second career triple double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high tying 10 assists.
In 2004, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, then a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, apologized for rather combative comments he made in an interview about how he plans on bringing a number of guns to a "war" with the Sacramento Kings. Those remarks came just before the Wolves were set to play the Kings in Game 7 of the playoffs, with the winner moving on to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
"This is it. It's for all the marbles. I'm sitting in the house loading up the pump, I'm loading up the Uzis, I've got a couple of M-16s, couple of nines, couple of joints with some silencers on them, couple of grenades, got a missile launcher. I'm ready for war."
The league didn't fine him and an NBA spokesman said he's glad Garnett set the record straight with an apology.
Footage of Garnett making those comments can be seen below.