The first thing that comes to mind when you mention Bobby Portis isn’t a basketball move, it is still a boxing one. We don’t know was is a left or right hook that got him, but that’s how Nikola Mirotić will always remember him. Portis is an intense guy and in October 2017, one day before the first regular season game, Mirotic learned that the hard way.
They had been going at it for some time running up to the season. Both fighting for a starting spot at the power forward position, it’s not uncommon to play rough and try to prove you should get the spot. Portis found out that Mirotić is getting the nod to start, there was some back and forth and the friction turned into an explosion. Portis knocked Mirotić out and broke his jaw.
You’d expect Portis would be suspended and shipped out of Chicago as soon as possible. While he did get suspended, the shipping out part didn’t happen. With time we learned that while the locker room condemned what he did, they were still on Bobby’s side in the grand scheme of things.
Portis is an all-in guy. He has 12-hour workouts during the summer. He invested in a power bar company (not that he needs extra juice). He even goes so far to imagine his opponents hitting his mom to get himself fired up before the game. The dude is intense. and while it creates conflict sometimes, his teammates respect the work and energy. Well, most of his teammates.
When Dwayne Wade was playing for Chicago, he led the veteran group in the locker room criticizing the young players, and Bobby didn’t hold back. If you don’t remember it, the Bulls had a plan to give Fred Hoiberg a young team to play fast, only to sign Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade. Funny thing, it didn’t end well for the Bulls.
After making a public statement criticizing his young teammates, Wade spoke to the team in a team meeting. He was explaining his comments and what he feels needs to change, noticing Bobby Portis locked eyes on him. Everyone knew Bobby has a temper, but Wade still addressed him. (via NY Post)
“Wade finally says, ‘What’s up, Bobby?’ ’’ the NBA source said. “Bobby laid into him, saying, ‘You might be a better player, but don’t ever challenge my work ethic.’ He accused Wade of not working hard enough by not practicing.’’
This was true. Wade was not practicing nearly as much as the younger players, but that’s not uncommon in the NBA. Veteran superstars can take it easy in workouts and team practice (sometimes not even show up) and still perform on the court. Still, it’s not that smart to challenge people on their work ethic if you’ve been taking it easy and we don’t play fast because you can’t keep up. Wade might’ve been right, but he should’ve known that won’t go over well with the team.
Portis controlled himself at that time. Some of it was growth, some of it the fact it was Dwayne Wade. Still, his new teammates in New York will still keep in mind Boby is an intense guy.
A top candidate to become a fan favorite in New York.