Nenad Krstic: (Not so) Badass
8:00 AM EDT on August 24, 2010
In the eighties, the WWF (now the WWE) featured a villain wrestler named "Nickolai Volkoff" whose schtick consisted of waving a USSR flag and doing goony things in order to turn the crowd against him. Volkoff was actually born in Croatia, and I think I know of at least one kid from his homeland who idolized him.
Last week, in preparation for the upcoming World Basketball Championship in Turkey, the Croatian national team played a "Friendly" against the Greek national team. The game was played in Greece. So, when Oklahoma City Thunder center Nenad Krstic started acting like a professional wrestler for the Croatian team, it made sense.
When the fight initially broke out, Krstic was nowhere near the action. One of his teammates got into an argument with a Greek player. It became physical and since David Stern wasn't looming over the proceedings with threats of over-the-top sanctions for anyone leaving the bench, it soon escalated into a full brawl.
Initially, Krstic attempted to pull a Greek player (Sofoklis Shortsanitis - that spelling is unlikely to be close) away from his teammate. Sofoklis is, however, built like a tank, so Nenad's little girl arms had no impact. So, he recalled back to his younger days watching Nickolai Volkoff play fight against Hulk Hogan and did what his countryman would do...he punched the Herculean player from Greece in the back repeatedly. When Shortsanitis turned around, Krstic ran away.
Where it really turns into a wrestling event is near the end. Krstic is backpedaling away from some Greek players in street clothes when he comes across the perfect weapon for a basketball scuffle...a chair. He lifts it over his head and throws it--again in a less-than-manly fashion--and gets it to land on a Greek player's skull. Unlike the WWE, this was real.
For his part in the action, Krstic got to spend a night in a foreign jail, and will probably be suspended from at least a portion of the World Basketball Championships. The NBA is unlikely to take any action since the event was not affiliated with their league. However, despite Nenad now having a reputation for fighting, I doubt this translates into him being viewed as the Thunder's low post enforcer.
Unless he can bring foreign objects onto the court, that is.