There's not a band that represents the gist of LA better than the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And there's not a team that does it better than UCLA basketball. So it was a natural fit for Flea, the bassist for the band, to be invited to perform the national anthem prior to UCLA's opening game with Indiana State. So Flea took the court and proceeded to play the anthem on his bass. It wasn't exactly Hendrix at Woodstock, but it was still pretty solid.
But more importantly, Flea used his wardrobe to inflame the passions of UCLA fans. He wore a UCLA blue t-shirt (that's an official color, you know) with the words "FREE SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD" scrawled across the front.
The nation's No. 1 recruit – whom Bruins fans see guiding them back to the Final Four – was declared ineligible just hours before the game. There's no word yet on how long he'll have to sit out. It might be 10 games. It might be the whole season.
The reason for his suspension is the typical NCAA, AAU stuff – improper benefits from members outside his family.
As expected, UCLA is appealing the decision. A university statement read: “The University and our compliance staff have fully cooperated with the NCAA throughout this entire period, and we believe the decision is incorrect and unjust to Shabazz. UCLA will expeditiously pursue its options to challenge this determination. When a final resolution has been reached by the NCAA, we will swiftly communicate the news to the entire Bruin family.”
UCLA, led by a mix of veterans and two other star freshmen, easily won the game, 86-59.