Mike Dunleavy Jr. is one of the more quiet and reserved players on the Chicago Bulls roster. Always measured in his responses when answering questions, and always appearing to be in control of his emotions, the more fiery side of Dunleavy was on display against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.
After a drive to the basket in which he thought he was fouled, but none was called by the referees, Dunleavy exploded at the officials and picked up a technical foul. But the incident seemed to light a fire under Dunleavy who picked up his effort both on offense and defense, and the veteran helped the Bulls to the 94-82 victory.
“I think it got me going a little bit,” said Dunleavy of the technical foul. “Sometimes when your blood’s boiling like that, it’s good to get things off your chest. Then, you settle back in and you play well … I’m good for one or two [technical fouls] a year. I make sure I always get my money’s worth and go home a happy man.”
"He plays to win and he makes the team better when he’s on the floor,” said Tom Thibodeau of Dunleavy. “I think we have a team full of guys like that."
But despite his mild mannerisms, Taj Gibson knows that Mike Dunleavy Jr. is a tough customer and not afraid of anything, evidenced by a chance encounter the big man had with his teammate while Gibson was still in high school in New York City.
“I knew he was a tough guy when I saw him on the train in New York,” Gibson recounted. “It was kind of late at night. He was on the train by himself. It was like 10 of us.
“When we saw him, we were like, ‘Yo, Dunleavy! What’s up?’ and he didn’t even get scared. He gave us a head nod and he was like, ‘What’s up?’” Gibson continued. “I was shocked to even see him on the train. You never see NBA players on the train, especially at night.”
Let that be a lesson to never take mild manners as a sign of weakness.