When you’re an NBA player, the spotlight is inevitably going to be on you at all times. Ideally, you want the spotlight to be on you because you’re a terrific player or you did something amazing in a game that warrant a clip on SportsCenter. You want people to praise you for your skills and to be revered. However, not all NBA players can stay in the spotlight for the right reasons. Some of them cause trouble off the court or get involved in juicy scandals which prompts non-sports outlets to pick up on them.
The players on this list transcended the game of basketball, but not necessarily in a good way. Their antics off the court led to unwanted media attention and severely hurt their reps. Some say any press is good press, but some of these guys may disagree with that. It’s not all bad though as some of the players on this list got media attention and used it to spread a good cause.
15. Delonte West
Delonte West has been in the news for multiple things, both of which may be out of his control. In 2010 West was the subject of a rumor that he was having an inappropriate affair with the mother of one of his teammates; that teammate was LeBron James. The rumor started at the worst time for the former Cleveland Cavalier, as his team was in second round of the playoffs. In 2014 West may have accidently admitted to actually having a sexual relationship with Gloria James (LeBron’s mom), saying he didn’t want his son to be made fun of for something that “his daddy did”.
Since the rumor, the now retired NBA star has been photographed in some bizarre situations. West has been captured sitting outside of a fast food restaurant barefoot, and holding up a cardboard sign asking for change. These behaviors have been attributed to some sort of mental health disorder, which is sad for a once promising NBA star.
14. Sebastian Telfair
Many NBA players start off as local heroes, but Sebastian Telfair was a New York City legend. The former 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft was so good, that he decided to skip college and go straight to the pros. Sadly, Telfair never lived up to his potential in the league, and had a few off the court problems, which may have led to the NBA souring on him. In 2007 Telfair was pulled over for driving 30 miles over the speed limit. During the stop the police noticed that Telfair had a loaded .45 caliber pistol in his car, and was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon, which is a felony. After the incident, Telfair served a three game suspension, and served a three year probation.
13. Draymond Green
When you are on a team that many call a modern day dynasty, you have to be careful of your actions. Draymond Green wasn’t as careful as he had hoped when he was nailed twice in the past six months. In July Green was the subject of an assault allegation from a Michigan State football player, an assault that led to the Golden State Warrior being arrested. Apparently Green’s entourage assaulted the player, and the next day Green himself punched the football player in the face. Green did apologize to the “victim” after spending four hours in jail.
Draymond tried a similar apology tactic later in the year when he accidentally Snapchatted a picture of his junk. Green initially claimed that the picture was the result of a hacking, but later admitted to sending it out himself by accident.
12. Eddie Johnson
Fast Eddie Johnson’s track record is far more serious than most of the other entries on this list. Johnson’s been arrested for just about anything you could think of, including drugs, sexual assault, burglary and violence. His arrests total to over 100 arrests and five stints in prison. His most despicable act came in 2006 when he was arrested for burglary, sexual assault and the molestation of an 8-year-old girl. In 2008, Johnson was convicted for his crime, under the charges of sexual battery of a minor under 12 and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12. The ruling carried an automatic sentencing of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
While others on this list can be forgiven for some of their actions, that certainly isn’t the case for Johnson.
11. Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman is the living embodiment of the NBA’s willingness to accept you…if you can produce. The Worm not only could produce, but is often cited as one of the game’s greatest defensive players of all time. Though he has gotten considerably more bizarre since leaving basketball, the former Detroit Piston and Chicago Bull made the news frequently while actually playing in the league. Most famously in 1996 while promoting his book, Rodman showed up to a signing wearing a wedding dress, and announced he was marrying himself. While the dress publicity stunt garnered a bunch of attention, it was his 1997 introduction into the villainous wrestling faction the nWo that really made headlines. At the time major athletes hadn’t been featured in wrestling matches, so the storyline took off in both the mainstream media and sports media respectively.
He’s also made headlines in recent years due to his bizarre friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
10. James Worthy
Athletes are often looked at as superheroes, but even heroes have personal vices; in the case of former Laker James worthy, that vice is hookers. In 1990 Worthy was busted by an undercover vice officer after contacting an escort service, earning himself a spot in an L.A. jail. Worthy handled himself with poise during the entire proceedings, taking full responsibility for his actions. Nevertheless the media ran with the story, dominating the media cycle for weeks after the event happen. The three time NBA Champion lucked out playing in the era that he did, as if social media would have existed at the time, his mistake would have lived on forever. Funny enough despite being arrested, Worthy still made it to his game that night, only missing part of the first half.
9. Antoine Walker
Drafted sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1996, Antoine Walker had a relatively successful career in the NBA. Besides being a three time All-Star, and winning a NBA Championship with the Miami Heat in 2006, the power forward also made a good chunk of change. According to Basketball Reference, Walker made over $108 million from his NBA salary alone during his 12 year career. Walker became front page news in 2010 when he filed for bankruptcy, claiming that he had just pennies to his name. The media collectively lost their mind trying to figure out how Walker could have lost so much money so quick.
The former Celtic would detail in many paid interviews about how his bad decisions during his playing days led to his empty pockets. His outlandish spending included multi-million dollar mansions each having four or five luxury cars, a new designer suit for each city, and $800k worth of gambling debt.
8. Javaris Crittenton
After playing one season with Georgia Tech, Javaris Crittenton was selected as the 19th pick in the 2007 draft by the L.A. Lakers. Though Crittenton looked promising at first, he eventually floundered in the league, playing for four different teams in four years. While one of those teams, the Washington Wizards, would prove to have its own drama (more on that later) it was his post NBA days that would prove the most troubling. In 2011 Crittenton was charged for murdering 22-year-old Julian Jones in Atlanta during a drive by shooting.
While Jones wasn’t Crittenton’s actual target, Jones died during surgery from injuries related to a gunshot wound in her leg. Crittenton was sentenced to 23 years in prison as a result, and needless to say his playing days were over.
Since we are talking about of Javaris Crittenton…
7. Gilbert Arenas
Remember back in 2009 when two professional basketball players brought loaded guns to an arena and threatened each other? Let’s rewind so that this absurd occurrence can actually make a little bit of sense for you. After Washington Wizards star player Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton got into an argument over an $1,100 card game, the two men threatened each other’s lives. Though some took this as a simple case of two men becoming angered, Arenas and Crittenton took it to another level by bringing loaded guns to the Verizon Center.
Arenas instigated an altercation by pointing a gun at Critterton telling him he was “going to shoot” him with one of these, so he should “come pick one”. Immediately after this Crittenton pulled out a gun of his own and pointed it at Arenas. Although teammates were able to defuse the situation, Arenas paid the biggest price for this series of events.
Unbeknownst to many Arenas was making a joke by bringing the weapons to the arena, a joke hammered home by the fact that Arenas thought it was OK to fire shots in the air during Wizards’ player introductions. The former all-star was forced to serve 30 days in a halfway house following the incident, and disappeared from the NBA soon after.
6. Jason Kidd
It’s a little puzzling as to why Jason Kidd’s rap sheet has somewhat been swept under the rug, as he’s now a coach in the NBA. Not many people talk about his 2001 arrest, but it was a pretty serious incident.
Kidd was arrested for spousal abuse but pleaded no contest in court. He was given a slap on the wrist, ordered to pay a mere $200 fine and undergo anger management classes. Ironically Kidd would file for divorce a few years later and even sought to have a restraining order filed against his soon to be ex-wife. His wife would fire back, claiming over the course of their marriage, he abused her several times. When filing for divorce, Joumana claimed Jason “broke her rib and damaged her hearing by smashing her head into the console of a car”.
Kidd was also arrested back in 2012 on a charge of driving while intoxicated, receiving a misdemeanor.
5. Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp may have been his own worst enemy. The rain man was one of the most exciting players in the NBA to watch, but he made several bad decisions which resulted in a downward spiral that got him out of the league. Kemp began battling drug addiction and eventually was arrested with cocaine, 60 grams of marijuana and semi-automatic weapons. Kemp didn’t learn his lesson from there though, as he was once again arrested in 2006 on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.
Kemp has also fathered seven children with six different women, which has caused him to pay a lot of child support. He had fathered all of these children by the age of 28 and this undoubtedly had an impact on him losing so much money following the end of his career.
4. Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell must really love choking people, as the former four time All-Star has been in trouble for it twice. His first and most famous choke came at the expense of head coach PJ Carlesimo during a Golden State Warriors practice in 1997. Carlesimo told Sprewell to “put a little mustard” on a pass that he was throwing, instead Sprewell put a lotta hands around the neck of Carlesimo. Sprewell choked and dragged his head coach for about 10 seconds before his teammates pulled him away. After being pulled away, Sprewell returned to the court and punched Carlesimo in the face.
The mistake literally costed Sprewell everything, as the Warriors canceled his contract, and the NBA suspended him for one year. A little known fact is that Sprewell once again got into legal trouble in 2006 for choking his 21-year-old girlfriend, who had visible marks on her neck. How is Sprewell supposed to feed his kids if all these people keep taking his money?
3. Jayson Williams
In 2002 NBA All-Star Jayson Williams was implicated in the murder of limo driver Costas Christofi. The former New Jersey Net was accused of manslaughter, with the state claiming that Christofi’s murder came as of a result of Williams’ reckless behavior. The night that Christofi was killed, Williams was showing off a shotgun to the limo driver. Williams failed to check the safety mechanism on the gun, so only one of the barrels closed when the weapon was shot. While showing off the 12-gauge the weapon discharged, striking Christofi in the chest and killing him. After his death, Williams placed the gun in the limo driver’s hands and instructed everyone present to lie about the situation.
Williams would eventually serve 18 months in prison for his crime, as well as paying over $2 million in a wrongful death suit.
2. Lamar Odom
Lamar Odom’s life is really a sad story, as the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year’s life fell apart after leaving the Los Angeles Lakers in late 2011. Odom claimed that he felt “disrespected” as a result of a trade to the Mavericks following his stellar season. Odom’s play suffered amid rumors of substance abuse, and eventually he was demoted to the NBA Developmental League as a result. Though he played a few more season in the league, Odom was a shell of his former self and barely recorded any statistics worth noting. Shortly after his divorce from Khloe Kardashian, Odom was being hammered by paparazzi and more rumors of substance abuse started to float around.
These reports of drug usage continued for a few years after, until Odom was found unconscious at the Love Ranch brothel in Nevada. The former Laker had multiple strokes and kidney failure. Though he has since recovered, Odom has been a fixture in gossip magazines ever since.
1. Allen Iverson
Though he is the most recent NBA Hall of Fame inductee, Allen Iverson was no saint during his playing career. Between his rookie and sophomore year, Iverson was stopped by police for speeding in Philadelphia. During the routine stop the officer found both marijuana and a concealed firearm on Iverson, for which he was arrested. A few years later in 2001 after Iverson was having an argument with his wife, The Answer was accused of committing domestic abuse against her. After throwing her out of his house, Iverson allegedly then went looking for her and in the process pointed a gun at two witnesses.
Even though the charges on the domestic dispute were dropped, the story picked up major traction, especially in Philadelphia. Speaking of Philadelphia, Iverson was implicated and sued during his last year playing with the Sixers, after his bodyguard assaulted a man at a club in Washington D.C. Though he didn’t touch the gentleman, Iverson was forced to pay $260,000 in damages as per the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
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