PHILADELPHIA – Jahlil Okafor was suspended for two games Wednesday by the Philadelphia 76ers after the latest video surfaced of the 19-year-old rookie center fighting outside a Boston nightclub.
The ban comes a day after the 76ers ended a 28-game losing streak over two seasons with a home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, their first victory of the 2015-16 campaign after opening with 18 consecutive losses.
Okafor has been involved with two altercations leaving nightclubs, the most recent after a loss in Boston that saw TMZ release two videos detailing Okafor punching out hecklers. He also was stopped on a bridge by police last month driving 108mph (173 kph) in a zone where 40mph is considered reckless.
The 76ers, whose 1-18 mark is the NBA’s worst, will be without Okafor for games Wednesday at New York and Saturday at home against Denver.
”We have made the determination to suspend Jahlil Okafor for two games, effective immediately,” the 76ers said in a statement.
”Jahlil is a very important part of our organization and our future. While we are disappointed with his recent actions, we have faith in him as a valued member of the Sixers. We will provide the necessary resources to support him on his journey and will do our part to help him succeed both on and off the court.”
Okafor, the third overall selection in this year’s NBA Draft after a stellar college career at Duke University, has averaged 17.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots a game this season for Philadelphia.
Last Sunday, Okafor tweeted that ”I own my choices” and he ”doesn’t want to be a distraction for my team” going forward.
”I hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else ever could and I’m not proud of some of my decisions over the last few months,” Okafor wrote. ”I own my choices both personally and now publicly. At this point I am cooperating and respecting the process I have to go through.
”Going forward I don’t want to be a distraction for my team and am grateful for the support and guidance those close to me are giving. I am 100 percent focused on my responsibility to the league, my teammates and fans.” (AFP)