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Skiles, Wallace Come to a Head

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 28, 2006 2:00PM

2006_11_sports_bulls_headband_mrpotatohead.jpgWith a team that lost 6 of 7 on their recently concluded "circus trip," shouldn't Bulls management worry about issues of greater importance than headwear?

Yet Ben Wallace, the Bulls' prized free agent signing, has been feuding with coach Scott Skiles and GM John Paxon over a number of team rules -- including a rule banning headbands.

During Saturday's game in New York, Skiles yanked Wallace from the game when he realized Wallace was wearing a red headband. When Wallace again donned the headband prior to the start of the second half, Skiles replaced him to open the 3rd quarter. Was the headband incident a cause of the friction? Or did earlier friction during Friday's game lead to Wallace's act of defiance?

With the feud heating up and threatening to disrupt the team as they hope to right the ship upon their return home, John Paxon tried to calm things by meeting with Wallace on Monday. While nothing was said publicly about the meetings, word has somehow leaked to the media (the way it always does) that Wallace can also expect a fine for his insubordination.

During his days in Detroit, Wallace often sported a headband but was informed by the Bulls -- only after signing his $60 million contract -- that he would no longer be allowed to do so. You lay out all that cash on the guy and can't even allow something this little to make him happy? Apparently, this was also a surprise to Bulls marketing staff, as this year's ad campaign features a pic of a headband-sporting Wallace and one of their giveaways is the Mr. Potatohead wearing a headband (shown above).

Is it really such a big deal if Wallace were to wear the damn thing? While Chicagoist isn't personally a fan of the look on ourself, we could certainly see how it might be handy for keeping sweat out of his eyes and keeping Wallace's ample 'fro at bay. And if the Bulls could win three titles with the technicolor Dennis Rodman on the team, why can't Skiles just loosen up a bit?