There are a lot of events that happen in the NBA that the league doesn't want you to remember.
There are some low scoring games. Fights in the league. Rape Charges. A lot of bad things have happened that do not represent what the NBA wants us to think about when we think about the league. There are ups and down, and this focuses on the downs of it all. The game we all love is in no way perfect. There are secrets and scandals throughout the history of the league. Things the NBA wish we never found out about in fear of it tarnishing the reputation of the league.
Here are the 15 most disgraceful moments in league history.
15 The 19-18 Final Score Game
The lowest scored game in NBA history.
November 22, 1950. The Minneapolis Lakers versus the Fort Wayne Pistons. The Lakers had not lost a home game on their court in over three years, and with their three big defensive big men, and their smaller court, it was tough to do so. So the Pistons devised a plan to beat them, kill the clock. From the tip they stood at half court with the ball until someone came out to guard them. They held the ball for long periods of time, between 3-5 minutes. George Mikan made all four of the Lakers’ field goals, and seven free throws, leading the game with 15 points. Bob Harrison made two free throws and Jim Pollard made one, totaling 18 points. On the Pistons side of things, John Oldham, Curly Armstrong, Larry Foust, and John Hargis each made one field goal. While John Oldham and Fred Schaus each made one free throws, Curly Armstrong and Jack Kerris made three. And Larry Foust made one.
If you are curious why there is a shot clock now, this game was a pretty big turning point in that development.
14 Len Bias’ Sudden Death
He was gone too soon.
lEN Bias was just selected second overall in the 1986 NBA Draft by the defending champion Boston Celtics. They got that pick due to a trade with the SuperSonics in 1984. The next day he signed an acceptance and product endorsement ceremony with the Celtics. He got a deal with Reebok for a five-year deal with about $1.6 million. After returning home he got his brand new car and went to the University of Maryland, his alma mater. At about three or four in the morning Bias, and several teammates repeatedly took cocaine in his dorm. At about 6:30 AM, he had a seizure and collapsed. When 911 was officially called Bias was unconscious and not breathing, the emergency teams could not revive him. He was officially pronounced dead at 8:55 AM. 2 days after being drafted into the league. There is a 30 for 30 called Without Bias about this incident.
This is why the league is very careful with its rookies now.
13 Guns in the Wizards Locker Room
This is just crazy.
It all started over a card game on an airplane ride. When players arrived at the court, Gilbert Arenas had four guns on display in his locker. He told Javaris Crittenton to pick one so he could shoot him with it. Javaris responded by saying he already had one, loaded, cocked, and pointed right at him. The room that was once full of laughter and conversation had a sudden chill to it. Taking them only a few seconds to realize it was real, the ran out and locked the door behind them, except for Caron Butler, who tried to talk calmly to Javaris, reminding him that his life was in the life if he pulled that trigger. Both men got suspended for the rest of the season. Arenas served 30 days in a halfway house and was out of the NBA two season later. Javaris never played in the NBA again and is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for a gangland shooting gone wrong.
This incident essentially ended what had been a turnaround in Washington.
12 12.Larry Bird and Dr. J’s Fight
Two of the biggest faces of the NBA.
November 9, 1984. The Boston Celtics played host to the Philadelphia 76ers. It was supposed to be a huge showdown between Larry Legend and Dr. J. Bird was by far outplaying Dr. J, and he was letting him know about it, Bird was one of the greatest trash talkers after all. With 1:36 left in the third quarter Erving charged at Bird and landed a Jab. At one point, players on the 76ers restrained Bird and let Erving get in a few good licks. Both players were ejected and fined a combined $15,000. At the time of the ejection, Dr. J had six points, three rebounds, and five assists. While Bird had 42 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Do you see why Dr. J charged him now?
Adam Silver would prefer the fans forget about the fighting that used to happen between the stars.
11 The Decision
Where ego and stardom collide.
LeBron James broadcast live on ESPN on July 8, 2010. After playing seven seasons and winning two MVPs with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron was an unrestricted free agent. Telling no one what he was going to do or where he was going to play before performing on this live TV broadcast. It was here where the famous saying, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach,” came from. He completely abandoned his home and his team to be a ring chaser with Dwayne Wade and company. There was a lot of blowbacks, both from the league and fans about the way it was handled. The Cavs went on to go 19-63 in the coming year. It was bad for the entertainment value and it was bad for the image that is LeBron, turning him into one of the most hated sports figures at the time.
The NBA wants you to forget that a player who might be the best to ever do it, was not loyal to his hometown.
10 Latrell Sprewell Choking His Coach
Not many good things came from his career, but this was one of the worst things to come out of it.
He is going to be one of the most infamous players to have ever put on an NBA jersey. It was during a Warriors practice on December 1, 1997 that Latrell Sprewell lost it and started to coach his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, for about 10-15 seconds before being dragged away. He left and returned later, hitting a glancing blow before being dragged away again. He was originally suspended for 82 games before it was reduced to 68 games. That suspension lost him $6.4 million and a shoe deal with Converse. Sprewell said the punishment was too harsh. He is quoted on saying on 60 Minutes, “I wasn’t choking him that hard. I mean, he could breathe.” Sprewell never played for the Warriors as he was traded to the Knicks following his reinstatement in 1999.
It is safe to say that this won’t be fondly remembered in league history.
9 Tim Hardaway’s Homophobic Comments
Not his proudest moments.
His exact words on the Dan Le Batard on Miami sports radio show was, “You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.” Really just a shame that he said these things for public consumption. Even back in 2007 that wasn’t something that you should just say. Even though he wasn’t currently in the NBA when he made the remarks, he was still a very public part of the league. He was scheduled to make a few public appearances during that All-Star weekend, after the commissioner (Then David Stern) found out, he banned him from the weekend. There was a lot of negative remarks and criticism that he and the league had faced. In the culture we have now, it would have done nothing but negative things for him to come out and say.
The NBA wants you to forget that one of its better players was openly homophobic.
8 Michael Jordan Gambling Issues
He lost a lot of money due to his gambling issues.
He always needs to be in the middle of the action, to feel that rush of adrenaline. In 1993 he was spotted gambling in Atlantic City the night before a game against the Knicks. He admitted to losing $165,000 that night. A San Diego businessman claimed Michael Jordan owed him over $1.65 Million dollars. And a former teammate, Jay Williams, talked about how MJ used to bet $100,000 on a rock, paper, scissors games. There is even a theory that his exit from the game to play baseball, was also a suspension from the league office.
The league doesn’t want any false notes on their greatest player of all-time. This is forever going to be swept under the rug as to not tarnish his legacy.
7 Magic’s Phenomenal Game…On Tape Delay
Tape delay is something that is finally gone away with in the world today.
It was May 6, 1980. Game 6 of the NBA finals. Lakers lead the series 3-2, they had a chance to win it all. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was ineligible to play due to a busted ankle, he couldn’t even travel to Philly with the team. They were going to be in serious trouble in Magic, the rookie MVP stepped up and played center. He just balled out against them too. He had an amazing line of 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and a block. One of the greatest final performances in the history of the league, and most people missed it because of the tape-delay.
Thankfully we know get to watch any game we want on live TV, but the league wants us to forget about the tape-delay era.
6 Isiah Thomas Running the Knicks
This was pretty low from a managerial standpoint.
While he was coaching and managing the team, Isiah Thomas effectively destroyed the New York Knicks. He held the position for 2 seasons and finished with a regular season record of 56-108, winning only 34% of the games he coached. Missing the playoffs both years. But worse than that was the remarks he made. In January of ’06, a former female executive, Anucha Browne Sanders, filed a harassment lawsuit against Isaiah Thomas. After the Knicks were forced to pay over $11.6 million dollars, they decided it was best to part ways.
Another disgraceful moment the League wants its fans to forget all about.
5 Donald Sterling Owning a Team
Racist comments in today’s league, especially from an owner of a team.
Donald Sterling told his girlfriend not to bring African-Americans to his game. She recorded it and TMZ released the tape of him saying that and to stop posting pictures with them on her Instagram. This caused a huge dispute, and the African-American he was talking about was Erving “Magic” Johnson. This caused a bunch of backlash from the fans, media, and even the players. The Clippers players considered sitting out of their game 4 match-up against the Warriors in protest. Donald Sterling was eventually forced to sell his team $2 billion dollars to Steve Ballmer.
The league would rather us forget rather quickly that Sterling was ever in power.
4 Gambling Referee
Tim Donaghy was a ref for 13 years before he resigned in 2007 and then served 13 months in a federal prison.
He was caught up in a betting scandal in 2007 using his knowledge of referees, coaches, players, and owners to bet on professional basketball games. He was caught betting on games that he officiated in during two seasons. He pleads guilty to two federal charges. He was betting on games and had connections to organized crime. He gave tips to a high school classmate of his. He would then be rewarded $2,000 for every correct pick he passed along to him. He also received $30,000 to give insider information to the bookies. He made obvious effects on the game when the Lakers shot 27 free throws in a game once. There were also points in Las Vegas where it was clear information was being traded as the line would move 1.5 points, this only happened when large amounts were bet on a game.
This scandal is defiantly something that needs to forgotten as it tarnished the refs in the league.
3 Delonte West and Gloria James
The supposed love affair between Delonte West and Gloria James hurt the public image of LeBron.
It also seriously affected LeBron’s ability to play in 2010 playoffs, getting eliminated in six games by the Boston Celtics. LeBron was playing very well in the series and found out that Delonte was allegedly sleeping with his mom prior to Game 4 of the series. It destroyed the team’s chemistry and divided them. It also most likely leads to a departure from Cleveland for LeBron. It is a shame that this happened and killed West’s career but it is worse off that it hit the mainstream the way it did and publicly ridiculed both LeBron and his Mother.
The NBA is hoping the situation is forgotten, and nothing like it happens again.
2 Kobe’s Assault Charge
Kobe Bryan was accused of raping a 19-year-old girl at a hotel in Colorado in 2003.
On July 4, an official arrest warrant was released for Bryant. He immediately flew to back to surrender to the Police and immediately release on a $25,000 bond. On the 18th he was formally charged and held a press conference adamantly denying he raped her, rather that it was consensual. There was a lot of discrepancy in both the accuser’s and Bryant’s stories. Before the case was scheduled to go to trial, his accuser filed a civil lawsuit against Bryant of the incident. The two sides ultimately came to a settle meant undisclosed to the public. Bryant releases a statement apologizing to the young girl and the trauma he put her through. He also apologized to her parents and family members for the whole ordeal. He admitted although he fully believed it to be consensual and she did not.
Kobe is a top-five player to ever play in the league, and while it was a terrible thing that happened, the league would rather us not remember this situation in correlation to Kobe.
1 Malice in the Palace
Basketball players fighting fans is not a good look.
It was just a normal game on November 19, 2004. The Detroit Pistons played host to the Indiana Pacers. The brawl initially began with 45.9 seconds remaining in the game with the Pacers ahead 97-82. Pistons’ Ben Wallace was fouled hard by Ron Artest, who slapped him in the back of the head. Wallace retaliated by shoving Artest in the face with both hands. The benches soon cleared trying to keep Artest and Wallace apart. Artest laid on the table in an attempt to calm down. While he was laying down Wallace threw a towel at him making him sit up. As the coaches held Artest back a fan, John Green, threw a diet coke at him and hit him right in the chest. Artest then jumped off the table, ran into the stands, and grabbed Michael Ryan who he assumed threw it at him. Soon Stephen Jackson followed him in to help him. Players and others raced into the stands to pull them off them off the fans and the action then spilled on the to the court where more punches were thrown. Ron Artest was suspended for the season. Eight other players were also suspended. The suspended players lost over $11 million is salary, a lot of which came from Artest who lost $5 million.
This was a very bad look for the NBA and the players. Having players attacking fans is not something Adam Silver wants us to think fondly on.