NEW YORK - It's a situation many professional athletes, actors or anyone in the national spotlight find themselves in at some point. There's recognition away from the workplace, most times followed by adulation but sometimes heckling.
How do you handle it?
It's easy to be sitting there reading this, or writing it, for that matter, and know the right decision is to remove yourself from the situation. But this isn't an ideal world, and snap decisions aren't always the right ones.
Jahlil Okafor made the wrong one early Thanksgiving morning in Boston - not once, but twice. Video came out Wednesday of the 76ers' rookie center in another fight, apparently moments after the one everyone learned about on Thanksgiving Day. The new video posted by TMZ shows Okafor in a second altercation in Boston. Though he told coach Brett Brown on the team plane that he had been involved in an incident, Okafor apparently wasn't fully truthful about what happened, so the team suspended him for two games before Wednesday's game in New York. Police are investigating the first incident, while an alleged victim in the second incident reportedly has threatened to sue.
Guard T.J. McConnell didn't get to the NBA purely because of his talent. He knows that. He impressed Brown with a toughness that measures far bigger than his 6-1, 200-pound frame. As much as he knows the toughness must remain on the court, McConnell realizes the difficulties an athlete faces away from his 94-by-50-foot office.
"I think there are people out there all the time who are trying to bring athletes down," McConnell said. "This is a case that I'm talking about. A simple guy that's jealous of a pro athlete, and I won't say how I really feel, but there's jealous people all over this world, and this is just a case of it."
There's little doubt how McConnell feels, that putting someone in their place is sometimes justifiable.
"It's human nature to protect your manhood, and some Joe Schmo does it on the street, there's no repercussions at all," he said. "That's not fair. It comes with the territory of being a professional athlete, but they're human beings, as well. It's an unfortunate situation, but we've got his back through it."
Nik Stauskas played for a joke of an organization last season in Sacramento, with three coaching changes and an environment about as stable as the economy. That is to say he has seen a lot of bad things happen. While the Okafor incidents shouldn't be dismised, Stauskas thinks his teammate and team will be able to handle it.
"I experienced everything last year in Sacramento," Stauskas said. "I experienced a whole lot. Honestly, it's part of the NBA, the off-the-court stuff - the suspension, players getting traded, coaches getting fired - all of it. That's something you've got to deal with, and when the ball gets thrown up and the lights are on, you have to put all that aside and do what you're paid to do, and that's play basketball. That's the mindset we have to have.
"I wouldn't say anyone has ever come up to me in person and just been mean to me. Obviously, you get it on social media or stuff, where people just call you out, or whatever. Sometimes you want to reply and just put them in their place, but you just have to take a step back and know that it's not worth it. Sometimes, I could see easily that it could get the best of you, your emotions could get the best of you. Ideally, you want to take a deep breath and let it go. But for some people, it's tough to just let those things slide when you have someone constantly nagging on you and saying bad things about you. Anyone in the world doesn't want bad things said about them."
And anyone would like to think they could handle the situation much better than their teammate did.
On Twitter: @BobCooney76