Last time I checked the NBA rulebook, head butting an opposing player was still illegal.
Which is why Oklahoma City center Hasheem Thabeet got in trouble with the league — he has been suspended the first game of the regular season for head butting New Orleans center Greg Stiemsma.
The incident happened 26 seconds before halftime. Jrue Holiday had the ball in the right wing and makes a skip pass across the court level with the free throw line to Eric Gordon on the weak side. That is Thabeet’s rotation to get out on the shooter but Stiemsma sets a little pick, and as Thabeet runs into him his hands get up near Stiemsma’s face, and Stiemsma takes exception and pushes Thabeet.
Thabeet’s response is to go back at him, arms down, and head butt him.
It was the right call by the league, which can’t allow this kind of escalation of incidents.
So when the Thunder open the season in Utah Oct. 30 Thabeet will be hanging out at the hotel not getting paid.