Shabazz Muhammad was visibly upset about not getting the ball prior to Larry Drew, Jr.'s game-winning shot that delivered the UCLA Bruins a 59-57 win over the Washington Huskies on Thursday night.
Once the shot went through the net, and the rest of his Bruins teammates celebrated, Muhammad still hadn't shaken his miffed disposition.
Take a look at the video:
Is he selfish?
Perhaps, but no one should be shocked to see this behavior from Muhammad, or any other player with the superstar talent and mentality that the Bruins freshman has.
To some extent, the basketball world covets players with his mental makeup.
Scouts, general managers and coaches want players that want the ball at the end of games. Fans love players that aren't intimidated by the moment, and embrace the pressure of taking the big shots.
A special level of confidence is required to be that guy.
We've seen various examples of big-time talents that wanted no parts of the ball in the waning seconds of a close game. For years, critics abused LeBron James and that perceived hesitancy was at the root of the criticism.
When you possess this desire and quality, it doesn't always come with an off switch. That's even more the case when we're talking about a 19-year-old still developing as a person, a man and a basketball player.
As the leading scorer for the team (averaging 18.6 points per game), he rightfully expected to get the ball in that situation. He had every right to be upset about not having the ball in his hands. Sometimes things work out even when the best player isn't making the decisive play.
His outward reaction was where he ran afoul. He lost self control, and as a leader—or at least a guy with the potential to become a leader—you can't allow yourself to have that type of outburst.
This is 2013—the cameras catch everything.
There are thousands of guys like myself just waiting to write a reaction to your latest reaction. Many won't be as understanding as I am, and thus your reputation begins to take a hit in the public.
Even with this on-court conduct misstep, Muhammad is not alone. Many far more established NBA players have had similar reactions to scenarios like this.
Remember Scottie Pippen throwing a fit and refusing to check into a game in the 1994 NBA Playoffs. Phil Jackson drew up a play for Toni Kukoc to take the last shot with 1.8 seconds remaining. Pippen was upset that he was not more involved, and he refused to check into the game.
Kukoc nailed the shot, and Pippen still didn't celebrate the Bulls' win. Check out how things transpired, the story starts at the 1:38 mark.
The video beneath isn't at the end of a game, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers aren't competing in the postseason, but watch Kobe Bryant's demeanor throughout the play.
He wants Pau Gasol to bring the ball back to him on the post. When it doesn't happen, Kobe gets very Shabazz-ish with his teammate.
You may be saying, this kid isn't Kobe or Pip; he hasn't earned the right to behave that way. I say, this mentality is either in you, or it isn't. You don't develop it.
Muhammad is a superstar scorer.
The other aspects of his game could use some work, but as far as putting the ball in the hoop, he is physically and mentally capable to do it on an elite level.
Because of this, he wants the ball when the game is on the line, and in most situations, he should have it. When you have a player like this, you take the good with the bad.
On Thursday night, we saw the latter.
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