- The Washington Times - Friday, January 19, 2001

Forward Tyrone Nesby promises that this week's outbursts cursing Washington Wizards coach Leonard Hamilton from the bench Monday night and going into a locker room tirade Wednesday night in New Jersey after not starting might not be his last.


"It might happen again," Nesby said yesterday. "I don't mean anything by it. I know it's hard to understand, especially since I come from the Clippers, but I hate losing. Ever since I've been in the league, it's been hard for me to deal with. Ever since I've been in the league, I've been looking for a place I can call home and be comfortable. And when you win, you get that."

Since Hamilton benched him with 8:04 remaining in the first quarter of the Wizards' 101-95 loss to Milwaukee on Monday, Nesby has become the flashpoint on the 7-33 team. Nesby, who had started 21 of 24 games since joining the Wizards in exchange for Cherokee Parks on Nov. 28, attacked Hamilton's decision to bring him off the bench in favor of starting Michael Smith.

Hamilton said he is through discussing the matter. However, he did point out that only Juwan Howard, Chris Whitney and Richard Hamilton played more than the 29 minutes Nesby got in New Jersey. Nesby is averaging 8.7 points but is shooting just 34 percent from the field.

"That's why so much of this doesn't make sense to me," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said Nesby will come off the bench tonight at Toronto, but he added that this is not a punishment for Nesby as much as a coach tinkering with a lineup trying to find a winning formula.

Nesby said yesterday he could accept the demotion even if he doesn't fully understand it. Nesby also said people shouldn't confuse his desire to win with being a cancer to the team, which he insists he's not. To make his point, Nesby pointed to the recent attacks that president of basketball operations Michael Jordan made on the team.

"You're supposed to hear some anger from guys when things aren't going well," Nesby said. "Michael snapped and people got mad at him. But he said what he said about us in the heat of the moment. We got beat by some teams that he probably thought we should have beaten, and he just snapped. He probably thought about it later on and said, 'I shouldn't have done that.' But when things happen in the heat of battle, you can't just stop yourself.

"What happened to me that would happen to a lot of players," Nesby continued. "You're starting, and you feel like you're doing well. I wasn't the damn problem. So I had a hard time dealing with going to the bench. But I know that it's about who is going to be the bigger man. It's time to leave it alone and move on."

Nesby said that reining in his emotions during a game is something he has had a problem with since high school. Perhaps this explains why one of the things he said to Hamilton on Monday after being pulled was, "Trade me." And in New Jersey, he stated the obvious when he said a lot of changes have to be made in the organization.

Yesterday, though, Nesby, was a bit less pointed in his comments.

"I'm happy with the Wizards," Nesby said. "But I can't lie about the way I feel. We aren't winning, and that is the key for me. Not the money, nothing else. I just get so pumped up because I'm emotional. Sometimes I just forget that he's the coach and we have to listen to what he says."

And could it really happen again?

"Anything can happen in the heat of battle," Nesby said.

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