Locker Room Etiquette: Perkins Is Right

VIDEO: The Inside the NBA crew shares their opinions on the Perkins-Noah incident

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins wanted no part of his Chicago Bulls counterpart Joakim Noah hanging out in his locker room after they had just battled on the floor.

Noah had been escorted in by friend and Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha with media members still conducting interviews. Perkins was dressing at his locker when he spotted Noah in what he believed to be a violation of the Thunder’s inner sanctum.

According to the Daily Oklahoman, Perkins shouted at Noah: “They just let anybody in the locker room?” The two engaged in a brief back-and-forth with Noah finally saying, “If you want me to wait outside, I’ll wait outside.” Perkins then said, “Get yo’ (expletive) up out of here, (expletive).”

We all know that professional athletes are far chummier these days than they ever used to be. But has it come to this, where foes feel free to mingle in each other’s locker room after a game?

Not so fast.

“It’s not normal,” Mavericks forward and 15-year veteran Shawn Marion said. “It’s like basically bringing someone in the [bathroom] with you.”

Players and coaches I talked to at Friday night’s game between the Raptors and Mavs certainly believe the locker room is for team members only.

“Kendrick is known for being protective of his house, his team, his teammates, so I’m sure Joakim Noah would have done the same thing to him if he had gone through Chicago’s locker room,” Raptors fourth-year point guard Greivis Vasquez said. “So I think it’s part of that competition level and just protecting your house and you’re not going to just let anybody come in like we’re best friends. I like that attitude, to be honest. Even if it is after the game that really doesn’t matter. We play for different teams. We can call, we can text.”

Thunder beat writer Darnell Mayberry said Perkins received support from teammate Russell Westbrook. In a conversation Mayberry had a little later with the All-Star point guard, Westbrook told him it’s a matter of respect to stay out of another team’s locker room. Mayberry asked Westbrook if he would ever bring, for example, friend and fellow UCLA Bruin Kevin Love into the Thunder locker room. He answered, no.

For old-schoolers like Raptors coach Dwane Casey, it’s not even up for debate.

“That’s your sanctuary. You shouldn’t have opposing team players in the locker room. I agree with Perkins,” Casey said. “I don’t know how he went about it, but you want it be your sanctuary in the locker room. But today’s NBA is different than 20 years ago when I first came in the league. You used to see them after the game or go have a beer or whatever after, but not in your locker room.”

Casey said he knows there are still players who would have done the same as Perkins.

“There’s quite a few. K.G. [Kevin Garnett] I know would say something,” Casey said. “You have some old-school guys that still would feel that way. In our locker room it is. There’s a lot of things we talk about, we keep in the family and it should be where you can go and relax and get away from things and feel like this is us, right here.”

Still, things are different in today’s NBA. As Mavs coach Rick Carlisle noted on his weekly local radio show Friday, visiting teams are now permitted to use the home team’s weight room and other facilities prior to games. At the American Airlines Center, the Mavs’ locker room is a square area separated from a much larger space by partition walls. On the other side of the walls is the weight room, making it virtually impossible for opposing players to come in contact.

Still, Carlisle chuckled when asked if the old Celtics teams he played for in the mid-1980s would have welcomed an opposing player into their locker room.

There seems to be only one legitimate reason for a visiting player to wander into the home team’s locker room, and even then players say those visits are typically made before games, not after.

“I was with New Jersey, it was my first game against Dallas (after being traded),” said Mavs guard Devin Harris, who’s in his ninth season and returned to Dallas this season as a free agent. “I walked in, said hello to [head athletic trainer] Casey [Smith], Dirk [Nowitzki], Josh [Howard]. I’m not going in there unless I know people, the majority.”

Marion also said that he’s made pregame visits to the locker room of his former teams where he knows the majority of the players and staff. But never, he said, has an opposing player escorted him into their locker room as Sefolosha did with Noah.

“It’s a little weird,” Harris said.


  1. JSM01 says:

    I agree with that no locker room access – but that of course comes from a player who can do nothing else to make an impact on a team – a starting Center avg. 2,9 pts. 3,6 reb & 0,6 blk´s in 20 min.

    Save your „toughness“ for the game!

  2. theaandthea says:

    noah’s fault, EVERYBODY knows it. but it’s very lefty french, do something odious and invading, then start a case about it like, why so much haaate 😉 ? i’m just disrespecting everybody but hey, i’m cool so you are wrong.
    because of this type of guys, we need rules, etiquette, teaching them what you can do or not. they don’t understand things alone, and it’s always the fault of someone else, intolerant 😉

  3. OKC says:

    I hope the conference finals are Thunder vs Portland so all the Sonic fans can come cry on the sidelines while we win the conference =D. Seriously I used to feel bad for Sonic fans, but they really are the biggest haters ever… It was Clay Bennett that wronged you, not Oklahoma, not OKC, and especially not KD.

  4. A Real Fan says:

    1. I think it was perfectly acceptable for Perkins to make Noah leave their locker room. 2. In response to the comments about Perkins being the weak link of the team…..Scott Brooks and the rest of the Thunder team hold Perkins in high regards as a strong link. He is not out there for offensive purposes, he is out there for defensive purposes. His offense has improved this season from last season, but he is a team protector, not a highlight film maker. He is very strong as a defender in the low post. 3. Keep going Thunder, and let’s make it 10 in a row tonight against the Raptors.

  5. fraekkedrenge says:

    Kendrick Perkins…can’t understand why that guy seem to be angry all the time…look like he hates everybody…yo man, show what you are able to do on the court…then relax…

  6. Unkle Daddy says:

    You go Big Perk, protect yours. Tired of teams being friends all the time, this is why the east is a bunch of busters, they’re all trying to be friends. You can be friends after you leave the arena.

  7. phil says:

    ready Freddie…

  8. Truth teller says:

    I agree with the no locker room access allowed. For two reasons. 1. People are under exposed in there, it’s a private area. (the media is bad enough) 2. Thats your friend, not everyone’s friend. It’s just bad form to go there.

  9. SugaSugamakesnosense says:

    Perkins is scared OKC players like Noah more than they like him haha. Perkins knows he is the weak link on that team, that’s why he is so angry all the time. Pretty sure OKC would be guaranteed to dominate the finals if they traded Perkins for Joakim. Bahahaha.

  10. Also, i know it’s not related w/ this article but like the whole KG. Ray thing & people trying to make KG out to be a jerk for not talking to Ray-everybody just ran w/ it. Yeah well everybody heard what they wanted to hear. The most important thing KG said was, “I’ll holla @ him after the season” & left it @ that while people ran w/ it-it was a publicity stunt anyways to distract KG.

  11. Good for Perk. LOL-as far as Noah & Sefo-bottom line is opposing teams locker rooms-home or visitor after games is off limits & should be before games also. Talk, txt, or meet up after exiting locker room if your that hard up to see yooouuur friend on the opposing team after a game. Better yet, wait till leaving the building. The problem now-a days is most of these players are just too damn soft as far as friends they play against & peeps they knew before. If it’s a true rival & were friends before the rival started-probably wouldn’t talk till the off season & if just an opposing player, probably holla a few times here & there throughout the season. Of course you support friends when going through stuff or worse, hardships-that’s a given. Other than that, come on really, just to say ‘what’s up’. Yeah ok talk to you later. That’s right yeah i’m oldschool-lol-& i know things have changed with the game & people in it the way they relate w/ one another-some change is ok & some things you just have to keep in place. Heck man-Bird & Magic became friends after starting of as rivals, but they weren’t visiting each others lockers rooms period yet shared one in Barcelona. It’s the etiquette of competitive sports w/ one’s friends, there are limits during the season.

    • Don'tRenameTheBobcats says:

      What about Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell; Are you saying that their rivalry was not a “true rivalry”? While they didn’t go as far as going into each other’s locker rooms, they almost always had dinner or lunch before or after their games but they still had one of the biggest rivalries of all time. In fact, according to Jerry West’s autobiography, many members of both the Celtics and Lakers would have a meal before or after the games but still keep up an intense rivalry on-court.

  12. justsayin says:

    If they had Noah instead of Perk they’d be a lock for the title.

    These days he saves his energy for cussing guys out after games instead of leaving it all out on the floor.

  13. mortished says:

    nobody cares about OKC anyway … bring us back the Sonics !!!

  14. exiled says:

    Greatest rival like MJ&Barkly , Shaq&Hakeem , Paul Heorge&Lj would’t mind at all, as a matter of fact, they went out together off the court, and u tell me Perkinz who?

  15. okc2014 says:

    Who cares what happens after the game. Noah should of been heading on his plane back home. So yeah, he went to the wrong place. OKC beat Chicago AND the Spurs. How do you like them apples?

  16. Art says:

    Media members still conducting interviews in the locker room, so we can’t talk about privacy violation.
    Bulls & Thunder neither enemies nor rivals.
    Bull’s players don’t have this restriction.
    Noah was invited by Thunder player, was polite & left a room without confrontation.
    Perkins response was … expletive…expletive.
    And in spite of all the above some morons say that Noah is so wrong.
    It’s so funny. Perkins is the worse center in NBA and didn’t get publicity for years. Next one coming when Thunder amnesty him next July. What a pig!

  17. Javier says:

    C’mon lets be real, the only reason he asked him to leave is because it’s NOAH… Who’s a total punk…

  18. xyz says:

    for whateve reason

    thabo is right

    it’s the GAME of basketball.

    guess perk just afraid Yoakim Noah could switch ends and replace him for good in this locker room.

    Did I mention I think Thabo Sefolosha to be the best player in the NBA?

    And the only team I could imagine myself playing on is the Memphis Grizzlies?

    Does that make sense?!

  19. Pistol says:

    And what’s the locker room etiquette concerning reporters? They do interviews, reports after games and nobody made ​​a fuss.

    • Bill says:

      The reporters weren’t on the opposing team…

      • sports fan says:

        It doesn’t matter if the reporters aren’t on the opposing team. They’re still invading a locker room with a microphone & video camera so there should be a locker room etiquette for reporters as well.

    • Truth teller says:

      There is, the players have a scheduled time slot to get ready. They usually leave right after they are done. Good luck catching a looser after a playoff game in the hall near the exit.

      • sports fan says:

        Immediately after I entered my comment I realized that the media does get their scheduled time with the players in the locker room. What I noticed is that there wasn’t any reaction to Sefolosha’s action of escorting Noah into the locker room except from Shawn Marion. Sefolosha should be getting more flak for this.

  20. dustydreamnz says:

    I’ve gotta agree with Perkins/Casey/Marion etc. Noah seems like a sociable fun type of guy but I think he went too far and Perkins seemed polite by ASKING him to leave at first.

    • The Worm 91 says:

      Noah was escorted by a resident (Thabo). Don’t you feel welcome when you are being invited and escorted home by a resident. I think people missed that part. Noah could have thought it was okay since Thabo was bringing him to their locker room.