Joakim Noah’s post-shot “guns of glory’’ celebration had been on full display this season, with the Bulls center shooting off finger guns and blowing them off, before emphatically jamming them into imaginary holsters after hitting outside jumpers since the start of camp. But in the wake of the shootings that left 26 people dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last week, Noah made the decision to find a new way to express his improved shooting ability from outside the paint. “I started doing it in practice [a few years ago], did the guns and kept doing it,’’ Noah explained after the Tuesday 100-89 win over Boston. “It was a funny, comical thing, but we’re in a situation right now where it’s not funny. You can’t joke around with things like that. Too many people are dying because of guns. We have a problem here with guns, so I’m trying to be a little compassionate. It’s not a joking matter. We have a serious problem with it in Chicago. It’s crazy. I mean this summer, the movie theater, it’s happening all the time. This is unheard of. Every story is horrific. The gun thing in this country is no joke.’’
After the shootings, Noah took to his Twitter account to express his feelings on the horror the country witnessed. Here was his initial tweet: “This is so f*cked up… There needs to be some kind of gun control.. For real” He also tweeted this: “Bowling for columbine all day,” as well as retweeting Michael Moore tweets, including: “On this day in 1791 the Founding Fathers created the 2nd Amendment. It took a good 15seconds to load 1 bullet(musket ball) then “ Surprisingly, head coach Tom Thibodeau had expressed no problems with Noah’s “guns of glory’’ or Nate Robinson’s “flaps-down’’ post-shot celebration this season. “At times he doesn’t like that,’’ Bulls forward Taj Gibson said of Thibodeau earlier this season. “He knows it works with this group, he understands it, so he puts up with it.’’
Last week, when Monty Williams was in Oklahoma City coaching the New Orleans Hornets, he heard about the Clackamas Town Center shooting. The former Trail Blazers assistant, who said he went to the mall at least 10 times with his kids, said he was instantly taken back to memories of his five years living in nearby West Linn, and coaching in Portland. “As soon as I got the news, I texted LaMarcus (Aldridge) just to make sure all the guys were OK, that nobody was in the mall,’’ Williams said. “I’m so tied to this area, I just didn’t want anybody to forget that I love them. But gosh, I would take my kids there and grab something to eat … and you hear that news and you just don’t think something like that is going to happen in this community. When it does, it brings everybody back home.’’
“I have always felt like (professional) basketball kind of puts us in a fantasy world a bit,’’ Williams said. “When things like (Clackamas) happen we think it puts life in perspective. But the reality is, we’ve have situations like that happen all over the world. There was situation in Asia not too long ago where a guy took a knife and cut up 20 kids, But we don’t hear about that over here. If everything was reported all the time, we probably wouldn’t leave our homes.
“But the NBA isolates us a little bit, then when things happen, we think perspective, but that’s a natural reality for people in the Sudan, Johannesburg, third world South America. But for us, we live in a world where we read Hoopshype and RealGM everyday, and we don’t pay attention to what’s going on in the world.’’
When he gets back to New Orleans, he said he plans to meet with the schools of his kids. He wants to know what measures they are taking to protect the students. If they don’t convince him measures are being taken, he said he will pull his kids out. “You shouldn’t have to think of home schooling your kids for safety reasons,’’ Williams said. “That’s where I think we need to try harder to save our kids. Get rid of the red tape and bureaucracy. If we have to put policemen at all the schools in America, so be it. I mean, that’s what policemen are supposed to do, protect and serve. you shouldn’t be able to go and buy a bullet proof vest. That should throw a red flag to anyone who sells it.’’
LeBron said was Dwyane Wade’s idea for Heat players to have kids with them in moment of silence for Conn. victims. “It was very emotional,’’ James said about the moment of silence before game against Washington. “D-Wade brought it up and we all thought it would be the best thing to do, not taking anything granted, knowing that we have our families still. A very emotional time, a moment of silence. And to have our kids out there was great.’’