Between his broad shoulders and just below the nape of his neck, Danny Fortson had a tattoo artist stencil “Smoochie,” a nickname that he had been given a long time ago, across his back.
To listen to the Sonics forward as he sat comfortably in a plastic folding chair after yesterday’s practice, he believes his tattoo has been replaced by a oversize bull’s-eye, which has made him a target for NBA officials.
“It’s obvious,” he said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s going on. They’re taking me out of the game and I’m trying to help the team win.
“It feels like I’m having that (physical play) taken away from me. For whatever reasons, I don’t know. I really don’t understand it.”
The Sonics forward, acquired from Dallas during the offseason in a trade for Calvin Booth, has been an asset to his new team when he can stay in the game.
He was largely responsible for wins against San Antonio and Sacramento, as he dominated the middle defensively, and controlled the glass, registering double figures in points and rebounds in each victory.
But too often, his aggressiveness has been rewarded with a bevy of fouls, which has limited his effectiveness and playing time.
Five times, he has played fewer than 14 minutes because of foul trouble. He has fouled out twice, and, in every game, he has collected at least four. Fortson has also been suspended by the NBA for a game after receiving a flagrant 2 foul for throwing an elbow at Toronto’s Chris Bosh.
In Sunday’s 102-83 defeat at Boston, Fortson played just 13 minutes and finished with six points and four rebounds before fouling out.
Fortson also collected a technical foul, his league-high fourth of the season, while talking to Antonio Daniels about the tight officiating.
“I tell Antonio Daniels, ‘Be careful. Set your man up so I can get good screen because the referees are looking to nail a guy so they can call a foul’ and boom a T,” Fortson said. “I’m talking to Antonio Daniels and I get a technical foul. That’s not fair. That’s really not fair.”