Jahlil Okafor to receive the ‘Dez Bryant’ treatment by the 76ers
Coming into the 2015 NBA Draft, former Duke player and eventual third overall pick Jahlil Okafor was considered a ‘lock’ and had zero character issues off the court. As of late, Okafor has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
He allegedly had a gun pulled on him outside a club in October; in November he was ticketed for driving more than 100 mph on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge; then he had an altercation with a guy outside a club in Boston that the police in that city are now investigating. Okafor has apologized more than once to the public, but stories continue to surface.
The 76ers do not want anymore bad press to a team that has yet to win a game this season, and they are putting their foot down to Okafor. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN:
“After being involved recently in a few embarrassing and potentially dangerous off-the-court incidents, Philadelphia 76ers star rookie Jahlil Okafor will now be accompanied by a security guard whenever he goes out, according to league sources.
The request for security came from Okafor’s handlers, who asked the 76ers to make a security guard available to their first-round draft pick out of Duke. The Sixers did not return a phone call seeking comment, but two sources said the club will honor the request.”
While this is not unusual for most NBA and NFL teams to have a security detail follow players, making it public knowledge not only shows the 76ers are concerned about Okafor but will take steps to ensure he does not have any off-the-court incidents. The Dallas Cowboys enacted a tougher policy with Dez Bryant that included more than a security guard following him around. There is no word what the exact terms are on Jahlil’s security team.
At age 19, Okafor is making millions of dollars and has a new-found freedom, something he did not have at Duke, and more importantly the players surrounding Okafor are not showing the rookie how to be a professional. This is a Sixers team lacking veteran leadership in the locker room, and while it’s debatable how much that would help in the early hours of the morning when Okafor seems to find trouble, it couldn’t hurt.