Being on an NBA team is similar to being a part of a family. We all have the crazy uncle or unruly cousin who always tears things up during the family gatherings. Similarly, most NBA rosters have one or two of those crazy people too.
It is no secret that some players are more mature and more well behaved than others, but it falls on the general manager, the coach, and the other players to keep those loose cannons in line during the season. However, there have been several occurrences when the wild child of the team also happens to be the best player on their team. In those cases, it can become much harder to reign in that inner beast that rises to the surface of some guys.
Today we will go back over the past 20 years and count down the 15 worst teammates to play in the league. Unsurprisingly, a lot of these guys also happened to be the best players on their team, so showing how stars can get inflated egos. There are no holds barred during this countdown, so don’t throw a temper tantrum if you see your favorite player on the list, just know that they will throw a tantrum for you.
15. Allen Iverson
The man who LeBron James called “the greatest pound for pound player of all-time” will probably be remembered more for his “practice” rant than for his talents. Iverson was one of the fiercest competitors the NBA has ever seen, but he also has a very large amount of stubbornness in him.
Iverson had run-ins with ownership, coaches, players and referees during his decade-plus in the NBA. As gifted as he was on the court, he could be equally as big a pain in the butt off the court. When Iverson left the Philadelphia 76ers and headed to the Nuggets many Philly fans were happy to see him go, even though he was arguably the greatest player the franchise had ever seen. As we know, Philly fans can be some of the most hostile fans in sports, but it still speaks volumes when a player is as talented as AI was, yet the fans are still happy to see him leave town.
14. Dwight Howard
Superman burst onto the scene with the Magic in the early part of the 2000s, and it took him only three years to have Orlando fighting for an NBA Championship. During the first handful of years with the Magic, Dwight was blazing a clear path directly to the Hall of Fame, and it appeared he would capture multiple titles along the way.
Almost a decade later, Dwight is now playing for his fourth NBA team. When he left Orlando it was not on the greatest of terms but people were willing to give Dwight the benefit of the doubt. After he was exiled by Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, the book was out on Dwight. He was immature and lacked the drive needed to be the great player many anticipated him becoming. After leaving the Lakers, D-12 lasted only three seasons with the Houston Rockets before they tired of his act as well. Howard is now playing for his hometown Atlanta Hawks, and as they trade away every decent player on their roster it seems only a matter of time before Dwight is looking for another try at a first impression.
13. Ricky Davis
Everyone knew that Ricky Davis had incredible basketball talent. You don’t become a first-round NBA draft pick if you don’t have that. What Davis lacked was the mental capacity to understand what needed to be done to maximize that incredible athletic ability.
Davis was a high volume scorer early in his career, meaning he was able to have a respectable number of points per game, but his shots per game were higher than most needed to obtain the point per game he was getting. As a youngster ,LeBron James was forced to play with Ricky and Lebron quickly learned what he did not want out of his professional teammates. I will never forget the game when Davis intentionally shot at the opponent’s basket simply to grab his own rebound which resulted in his tenth rebound, giving him a triple-double for the game.
12. Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace
One of the craziest people to ever play professional basketball, there is no way this list would be complete without Artest. I refer to him as Ron Artest in this countdown because we acknowledge once he became World Peace, Ron became a better teammate. However, during his time as Ron Artest, there was not a looser cannon in the league than him.
There are only a few things worse you could do to your teammates than what Ron did during the Malice in the Palace back in 2004. Artest was not having a very good night that night, and he decided to get into with the Pistons center Ben Wallace. During his altercation with Wallace, a fan got involved, ultimately throwing a beer onto Artest. So Ron did exactly what any psycho would do; he entered the stands to fight the fans, while a few of his teammates went into the stands with him (mostly attempting to stop him). At the end of the day, Ron Artest was suspended by the NBA for a record one full year. Not a good look for a team headed to the playoffs.
11. Carmelo Anthony
Melo has probably been the most consistent scorer in the NBA since his rookie season in 2003. He is likely going to be a Hall of Famer when his time comes, and he will have deserved it. There are many players like Melo throughout the history of the game; players like Dominque Wilkins, Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson come to mind immediately. All those players were able to score seemingly at will and all those players also never won a championship.
The problem with Carmelo’s game is that it relies too much on his isolation with the ball. He has never been able to incorporate himself into a system, the ball always seems to get stuck when it hits his hands. There is nothing wrong with scoring, but if it comes at the expense of your team’s success, that is when it becomes a problem. As long as Melo insists on the ball stopping when it gets to him, his fingers will remain ringless.