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Nikola Mirotic reflects on fight with Bobby Portis

Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis

The fight between Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis was only a day prior to the Chicago Bulls opening game of the season, taking out one of the key bench players as Mirotic was forced to miss time with facial fractures.

Now slated to join the New Orleans Pelicans prior to the end of the week, the 6-foot-10 forward spoke about the incident in full for the first time.

“It was hard. It was really hard for me,” Mirotic said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “Especially because he was my teammate. Especially the timing, the timing was basically two days before opening night and everything. After I put all the work [in] during the summer. So for a moment I felt everything went down. But I had to be tough. I had the support of my family.”

Mirotic endured not only physical pain, but emotional, as several rumors made the rounds through his inner circle.

“I usually don’t read [media stories] but I was home a lot of the time,” he said. “And I saw something, people talking about teammates, that my teammates don’t get my back. They’re staying with Bobby. I don’t know the reason because I was [supposedly] not here during the summer practicing, I was doing my job, my own job, with my personal coach and with my strength coach, so that kind of thing I felt like gave me some energy to show back, to show the people that nothing can [mess] with me and I’m a good professional.”

Both Portis and Mirotic looked at the task ahead for the first few days before finally breaking the ice and initiating the camaraderie once again.

“I know it was not easy for him too,” Mirotic said. “It was different. I don’t like to talk about it, it’s all passed, but I’m just going to talk about myself. I had to, I had to be back. I just felt I had to be with my teammates. [Portis] was practicing with the team even when he was suspended so it was kind of good for him to be in good shape, try to refresh his mind and get ready. I was away a lot of time, a lot of weeks, but it’s all good.”

The fourth-year forward will now join the Pelicans, getting a fresh start, away from all the drama that ensnared the organization, and now along a team with playoff aspirations.