The story behind Shabazz’s Rat tail

I’ve probably fielded more questions about Shabazz Napier’s rat-tail than I have about Ryan Boatright’s suspension or Andre Drummond’s play. Everybody and their mother has been looking for an explanation. On Sunday, Shabazz gave one:

Shabazz Napier (AP)

The rat-tail is a tribute to a hometown friend, Ernest Likely, who was murdered “awhile back,” Shabazz said. Likely wore braids.

Shabazz opened up about it in hopes that he’ll stop catching so much flak from the public.

“I might cut it soon because a lot of people, teams may say something funny about it,” he said.  “It irritates me because they don’t understand where I’m coming from. The fanbase today was talking about it so much. It irritates me so much. I’m doing this out of someone I love so much and died.”

“It took a lot out of me, it was one of the hardest things of my life,” he continued. “I’ve been contemplating whether or not I should cut it. Teams try to make fun of it. Knowing myself, I might get ticked off one day and get in someone’s face about it. It’s something real deep. I don’t really appreciate a lot of people talking bad about it, but you know what — not alot of people understand where I’m coming from, so I can’t really blame them.”

Napier hails from Roxbury, Mass., a crime-ridden section of  Boston.

“I could have done the violent stuff, I could have done all sorts of stuff,” Napier said. “I was fortunate enough to have a mother to push me and saw some good in me. I’m one of the guys who got out.”