Being a star basketball player in the NBA is no easy feat, and players who have the privilege of being stars in the NBA are widely considered to be some of the greatest basketball players of all time. The current NBA has great players such as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and a select few that will be considered among the greats someday. In many fans eyes these stars can do no wrong, but sadly too often we see great athletes mess up outside of their sport. We have seen a few great basketball players in the past be terrible in the area of parenting.
Being a great parent should be a forgone conclusion, and you’d think with all the money NBA players make they would be able to provide for their children financially. Financially taking care of their kids isn’t the only way that NBA players should think of being great parents. Spending personal time with them, and guiding them through life is also an important aspect that gets ignored way too much. Many great NBA players in the past have chosen to not be there for their kids and be great parents.
Here are 15 Great NBA players Who Were Terrible Fathers:
15 Karl Malone
Karl Malone is arguably the greatest power forward to ever play in the NBA sitting second overall in total points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabber, but he was far from the greatest father. He has had paternity suits with two different families. Daryl and Cheryl Ford were Malone’s children mothered by Bonita Ford, and although Malone accepted these two as his own there was once a time where he complained about the $125 a week child support he had to pay for them. The other paternity case proved with high probability that alone fathered Demetress Bell. Despite Malone being his father his only time meeting Bell came right after Bell had graduated high school and Malone told Bell it was too late for them to have a father son relationship. Bell went on to play in the NFL for five years as an offensive lineman.
14 Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman was at one time a janitor, but he turned his life around and became an NBA Hall of Famer on the court but not off the court. Rodman was always a little different in the eyes of the public whether it was wearing a wedding dress or his exotic hair colors. In 2012 we found out he was also a deadbeat dad, and his outstanding child support balance proved it. Rodman owed $800,000 in child support and could have gone to jail. He got off with community service, but it is strange that someone who made millions during his career cannot afford to take care of his own children. Rodman has also had trouble with paying taxes and has a friendship with one of the most evil men in the world in Kim Jong Un.
13 Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson had a great NBA career after being the first overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft, but recently his life hasn’t been so great. Johnson was a perennial All Star while playing for the Charlotte Hornets. He hit one of the most memorable shots in New York Knicks history when in the 1999 playoffs he sank a three pointer while getting fouled that lifted the Knicks to the 1999 NBA finals, and made the Knicks the first eighth seed to reach the championship series. Now he is better known for having five kids with four different women. In 2015, he declared bankruptcy after saying he was at least $300,000 in debt, and $120,000 of the debt was in unpaid child support. Johnson may have been a number one pick in 1991, but he is far from being a number one Dad.
12 Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp was a fierce player primarily for the Seattle Supersonics, but he also is known from having seven kids with six different by the age of 28. After Seattle Kemp played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trailblazers, and Orlando Magic before his career in the NBA was over after the 2002-2003 NBA season. After basketball he should have focused his time on his children, but he got in trouble with the law on multiple occasions.
In 2005, Kemp was arrested in the state of Washington for having a small amount of cocaine, approximately 60 grams of marijuana and a semiautomatic pistol. This isn’t the kind of role model that his children needed at the time, and Kemp messed up again in 2006 when he was again arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Houston, Texas.
11 Larry Bird
This deadbeat dad reality came as a shocker, but after doing some research it is in fact true that Larry Bird was not a great father. Bird of course is famous for leading the Boston Celtics to multiple championships in the 1980’s and being perhaps one of the greatest to ever play the game.
On a much darker note he had a daughter out of wedlock named Corrie whom he has made no effort to be a father to, and she was born a little less than a year after Bird divorced Corrie’s mother in 1976. Corrie was financially taken care of by Bird, but Larry Legend never sought a personal relationship with his daughter, and Corrie always tried to send him mail whether it was her report cards or school pictures but Bird never responded to her letters.
10 Juwan Howard
Juwan Howard has done so much good in terms of philanthropy off the court, but way back in his early playing days in 1996 he was hit with a paternity lawsuit. Howard played in the NBA between 1994 and 2013 and has been a coach with the Miami Heat ever since he stopped playing. Howard got a large contract from the Washington Bullets which spanned seven years and would make him $105 million richer, but then was hit with a lawsuit that proposed he make payments of $11,000 a month and pay $50,000 for the legal fees of Markita Robinson. Howard was determined to have a 99.99% chance of being the father all because of one irresponsible night in high school at a hotel in Detroit.
9 Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing seems to be an all-around good guy, and it would be hard to picture him entirely as a deadbeat dad. Having said that, anyone who has a paternity lawsuit on their record has proven to be irresponsible. Many can make the argument that Patrick Ewing may have been the best basketball player in Knicks franchise history while averaging over 20 points and nine rebounds a game for his career, but the paternity suit is just one way in which Ewing has found trouble off the court.
Ewing had to testify because of incidents that happened at the Gold club in Atlanta, Georgia, and he admitted that he received sexual favors on two occasions from dancers at the Gold Club. The fact that he had two daughters and a son should have steered him away from even participating in such activities.
8 Jason Kidd
The current Milwaukee Bucks ball coach has been the subject of a domestic violence case against his ex-wife, a DUI charge, and being called out as a deadbeat dad. His oldest daughter Cheyenne has made the claim that Kidd has been absent for a majority of her life. Sadly this happens because some fathers think it is okay to only support their children financially, but then they rarely ever spend quality time with their offspring. During his playing days he was one of the most versatile players in NBA history posting triple doubles frequently.
It’s unfortunate that he can’t be versatile with balancing his work and family life, and just because he had a nasty break up with his ex-wife doesn’t mean he should take that out on his children with her.
7 Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury was a highly entertaining player in the NBA, and once he was unable to play at the NBA level anymore he became a basketball god in the Chinese basketball league. At the young age of 19 Marbury was hitting with a paternity suit. Nicole Thompson is the mother of Marbury’s daughter Stephanie, and Thompson was living in a crammed apartment with their daughter while Marbury was making millions. Baby Stephanie should not have been subject to those conditions that Marbury experienced growing up in poverty.
Marbury of course has fought his own personal issues throughout his NBA career, and he admitted to being suicidal while he was a member of the New York Knicks. It’s hard to see Marbury be able to have a great personal relationship with his daughter while he was playing on the other side of the world in China.
6 Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon has three daughters, and two of the three are with his current wife Dalia Asafi. His third daughter Abisola was born out of wedlock with Lita Spencer being the mother. Unfortunately Abisola was neglected by her father for the majority of her young and adolescent life, and this was due in large part to the demanding schedule that her father had as a hall of fame basketball player. Hakeem signed the checks but didn’t have time to spend personal time with his daughter. Being a father should come before a lot of things, and Hakeem should have been more present in his daughter’s life early on.
Hakeem began making up for lost time once his playing career ended. Abisola and Hakeem now have a great bond, and Abisola currently plays in the WNBA following in her father’s footsteps as a professional basketball player.
5 Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen was a member of the dynasty that was the Chicago Bulls during the 1990s, and played the role of sidekick alongside Michael Jordan for all six of their championship runs. Defense is often times overlooked when judging a basketball player. Pippen played some of the greatest defense that anyone has ever seen in the NBA, but he has no defense as to why he has been such a terrible father. Pippen has seven children with four different women. Two of his seven children were born out of wedlock to Yvette De Leon and Sonya Roby. Both these women filed paternity suits against Pippen, and they both have gotten him to pay child support as a result of these lawsuits along with trust funds for his children.
4 Isiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas was a member and the catalyst of the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons teams that were highly successfully starting in the late 1980s, but it’s too bad he couldn’t be a catalyst in all of his kids' lives. One of his sons lived just a few blocks away from Thomas when he was the coach and general manager of the New York Knicks. Despite their close proximity the two had little to no communication with each other, and Thomas has frequently ignored his son’s phone calls over the years. Thomas was forced to pay child support for his son Marc Dones. Dones like many children who get neglected by their athlete fathers wanted more than just a check, but his father made no attempt to build any kind of relationship with his own son sadly.
3 Kenny Anderson
Kenny Anderson enjoyed a long and prosperous basketball career that spanned over 15 years, but he failed to build a long and meaningful relationship with all his children. In the 1991 NBA draft Anderson was selected number two overall. His career was a little disappointing for someone selected so high, but he was able to average a respectable 12 points and six points a game while in the NBA. Anderson began his life as a parent before he even got to the NBA while at Georgia Tech. Fast forward to today and Anderson had eight kids with five different women, and instead of spending money on his kids he spent it on himself leading to him declaring for bankruptcy in 2005. Anderson made a settlement with ex-wife Tami Roman for $800,000 in 2012 for child support and hopefully this leads to Anderson playing a bigger role as a father in his kids lives.
2 Calvin Murphy
Calvin Murphy is an NBA hall of famer who played point guard for the Houston Rockets, and was seen as a player who overachieved greatly due to his small stature. Murphy has fathered an eye popping 14 children with nine different women. With 14 children it can be hard to be there for everything, but it is still his duty to concentrate on every one of those children and better their lives. Sadly Murphy told his kids who were born outside of his marriage not to call him Dad in public, and this was so he could keep his image clean. His lack of good parenting towards his children born out of wedlock came back to haunt him. He was accused and acquitted of charges of raping five of his daughters, and his public image now is tarnished forever.
1 Chris Bosh
It is sad that Chris Bosh’s NBA career is likely over due to a heart condition, but it is even more discomforting to know that he isn’t all that great of a father. He may be becoming a better parent now that he has more free time on his hands. Back in 2008 when Bosh’s girlfriend Allison Mathis was seven months pregnant, Bosh started being neglectful financially towards his pregnant girlfriend. Mathis got a paternity lawsuit against Bosh a year after the birth of their daughter Trinity. Bosh married Adrienne Williams in 2011, and they have had four children together who more than likely get favoritism over Trinity. Hopefully since Bosh has a lot more time to kill now he can work on his parenting skills to his daughter born out of wedlock.