Last night, the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported that Jahlil Okafor, in addition to his Boston strangler incident on Wednesday night, was involved in an altercation and had a gun pointed at him outside an Old City nightclub in October. John Gonzalez added to the report in an impressive way, painting Okafor as much more than just an innocent bystander:
The 19-year-old Sixers’ rookie was outside an Old City nightclub after 2 a.m. on Oct. 4 when he and another person began arguing with two men sitting in a parked car near the corner of 2nd and Walnut Streets, according to a witness. The verbal disagreement escalated and a witness said he saw Okafor try to punch the driver through the open driver’s side window. During the altercation, the driver and passenger exited the car and the passenger pointed a gun in the direction of Okafor and his associate, per the witness.
U.S. Park Rangers — who patrol nearby Independence Hall — arrived on the scene during the altercation, according to separate reports filed by the U.S. Park Rangers and the Philadelphia Police Department and obtained by CSNPhilly.com. The man who exited the passenger side of the car fled on foot and appeared to toss his gun, per multiple witnesses. According to the police report, the driver got into a black Camaro with red stripes and sped off. The car was not stopped.
After the game last night, Okafor said he couldn’t talk about it. The Sixers also issued a perfunctory statement acknowledging the incident.
Few things here:
- Not gonna lie, I kinda like the idea of a prideful, renegade center going around the country punching would-be hecklers outside bars and assorted clubs. Sort of like the mid-70s Flyers. Just drinking with the common folk, then beating the shit out of opposing fans. There’s something endearing about a player who takes an “aww hell no you’re not talking about my team like that” persona in public.
- Unfortunately, Jah’s apparent comeback to such verbal attacks – “we got money you broke ass n**ga” – serves up low-hanging fruit quotes that can easily be used against Jahlil and the Sixers when they mail it in for a game or season.
- One of the first things I thought here was: “What happens to the plan if Okafor gets shot in the face?”
- I find it interesting that Pompey – not exactly Woodward or Bernstein – Gonzo and Howard Eskin – more on him in a second – got these reports from “witnesses” and “sources” just a day after the Boston street fight video was injected into the ether by TMZ. Pompey had five sources, and yet never mentioned the police report included in Gonzo’s story. Me thinks – and this is just my opinion – that the Sixers knew about this and let it leak yesterday. I mean, the reports came from basketball scriptuals during the game. Pompey mentions that Okafor was with teammates, while Gonzo just says “another person” and “associate.” It certainly sounds like one of those witnesses could have been one of the other players. Why would the Sixes leak this? 1) Rip the bad Jahlil news off like a bandaid over a holiday weekend– two negative stories combined into one and forgotten about by next week. 2) Control the story, paint Jahlil as a bit of a victim – “pointed a gun in the direction of Okafor” – and not let this come out two months from now.
- According to Jake Pavorsky, the guy Okafor hit on Wednesday was “not only at the Celtics game, but continued to follow him throughout the night.” In which case: Nice work, Jah?
Eskin, who notes that the club was Recess, piled on:
Meanwhile, the Boston PD is now investigating the incident from Wednesday because, after it became a national story, of course the victim went to police at 11 a.m. yesterday. He claims the whole thing happened because Jahlil got shot down (NOT LITERALLY!):
According to the victim, the incident occurred at about 2:00am, on Thursday, November 26, 2015, as people were exiting the nightclub. Victim states that two black males, one believed to be Okafor, approached his group of friends and quickly began talking to a few of his female friends in an effort obtain their phone numbers. According to the victim, when his female companions refused their advances, a verbal altercation ensued between him and the suspect. During the argument, the male victim states that Okafor attempted to charge him but was momentarily restrained by another individual. Eventually, however, the victim states that Okafor broke free and began pushing and punching him. Victim further states that the suspect struck him with a closed fist and knocked him to the ground. Victim stated he sustained a cut above his eye which later required stitches.
The lawsuit coming in: 3… 2… 1.
To recap: In the last two days, it’s been reported that Jahlil Okafor has been involved in three separate incidents involving law enforcement: He was pulled over for driving 108 on the Ben Franklin Bridge. He punched a guy through a car window and had a gun pulled on him in Old City. And he got into a street fight in Boston, either because of a persistent heckler or because he got shot down by a couple of chicks. Trust the process, I guess.