Raptors welcome aboard Evans
Reggie Evans is one of those players opponents love to hate, which is precisely the reaction the Toronto Raptors want.
Evans, one of the NBA's scrappiest forwards, was introduced Tuesday by the Raptors, who acquired him from the Philadelphia 76ers for Jason Kapono on June 9.
Evans's reputation preceded him on the Raptors because forward Chris Bosh told reporters he hated playing against him.
"That is a good thing," Evans said with a hearty laugh. "That lets me know I'm doing something good."
"When Chris says he doesn't like me, I don't like Chris. I like him now because we're teammates, but I didn't like him either.
"There is nothing bad about it. It is a good thing."
Evans is expected to give Toronto grit unseen since Charles Oakley played for the Raptors.
"He [Evans] is going to address a number of things that I think are very important for our team — toughness, rebounding, intensity," Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said. "He is bringing passion to the game, and that is what we love to see."
Evans cemented his reputation as a nasty player three years ago, when he was fined $10,000 US for grabbing the testicles of Los Angeles Clippers centre Chris Kaman as they jostled for position under the basket.
"The dude reaches from behind me, grabs my [crotch] and tries to rip them off, basically," Kaman said at the time. "I couldn't believe it.
"The first thought I had was, 'What the heck just happened? I get violated, and I'm playing a basketball game.'"
Evans is outspoken in the locker room, too.
"If I feel like something isn't right, if somebody isn't bringing it hard to the game or hard in practice, I'm going to speak my mind," Evans said. "The only way we're going to get better is to work hard, so if you want to relax — go sit down or just go home."
"That is just me, I'm a competitor," he continued. "You just have to understand what it takes for hard work … My Mama always told me, 'One thing you never have to worry about [is] the lights will be paid and the rent will be paid.'
"Just seeing her work so hard, and then I played for a high school coach who was really tough on me. It is a little bit of both of them."
'A shot a month'
Evans isn't exactly a gifted scorer, having averaged just 4.3 points in 514 appearances (270 starts) with the Seattle SuperSonics, Denver Nuggets and Sixers.
But he makes his presence felt on the defensive end, averaging 6.9 rebounds per outing and ranking among the NBA's top-10 rebounders in four of his seven pro seasons.
"I don't score, but I'm in the league," Evans said. "There is a need for me.
"My opponents respect me; they know when I'm on the court. My teammates respect me, so I could care less what people feel about how I play."
"I think, one time, we were playing Charlotte and I posted up [five-foot-three] Muggsy Bogues — then I woke up!" Evans joked. "I defer a lot of jumpers, pass to somebody and set a pick.
"I may shoot one here, now and then, every blue moon. A shot a month."
With files from The Canadian Press