When people hear “the bad boys of the NBA,” they often cringe and think about Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman and Rick Mahorn from the infamous Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early ‘90s. However, many people don’t know that there were far worse “bad boys” in the league. These “bad boys” weren’t just overly aggressive, dirty players like many considered the Pistons to be. Instead, they were much worse: bad boys who committed far more serious crimes than flagrant fouls.
Believe it or not, there have been a number of NBA players who have served prison sentences following conviction on multiple charges. Most of these players are retired and played during the 1980s and ‘90s but some on the list still play basketball in Europe. The crimes to which these basketball players committed vary from small charges of drug possession to large felonies of kidnapping, vehicular homicide, animal abuse, and third degree rape. Yikes!
Although many of the players on this list committed awful, inhumane crimes, some of them found ways to significantly reduce their sentences. As you know, many NBA players receive seven-figure salaries and can afford the best lawyers and legal-assistance. That doesn’t make any of the crimes less wrong, but it does go to show that being a famous NBA star has its perks.
That being said, I don’t understand why any NBA player would choose to commit a crime in the first place. They have worked their whole lives to make it to the NBA and the ultimate dream life. Why on earth would they choose to commit a crime and forfeit everything they’ve worked so hard for? Did they think they wouldn’t get caught? Did they think that since they were in the NBA they were invincible? Who knows? One thing I do know is that their bad decisions made them trade in their team uniforms for orange ones. Here are 15 NBAers who were sentenced to serve time:
15. J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith may be charging his way through the NBA Playoffs right now, but he was also charging his way down the interstate highways nearly a decade ago. Smith was sentenced to 30 days in jail in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to reckless driving, according to The Denver Post. He only ended up having to spend 24 days in the slammer after his black SUV ran into a stop sign and crashed into another car, killing the other driver. Smith has a history of car accidents and reckless driving, he has received two speeding tickets and three license suspensions in the year after his accident, according to NJ.com
14. Corie Blount
Living up to his last name, Corie Blount was arrested for 29 pounds of marijuana on Dec. 4th, 2008, according to ESPN.com, as Blount and his neighbors reportedly distributed multiple pounds of marijuana in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a skilled power forward/center at the University of Cincinnati and played his first NBA season with the Chicago Bulls in 1993-1994. When Blount was arrested, reports say police found a “1996 Mercedes Benz, 2004 Cadillac Escalade, a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban, 3 guns and $29,500 in cash” in his possession. The 6’9″ Final Four star player spent one year in prison after pleading guilty to two charges of felony possession.
13. Ruben Patterson
Another University of Cincinnati alum, Ruben Patterson, was convicted of third degree rape in 2001. Patterson, a former shooting guard for the Seattle SuperSonics, Los Angeles Lakers, and other various NBA teams, attempted to sexually assault his child’s nanny in 2000. Reports say he tried to force a sexual act upon the sitter and therefore had to register as a sex-offender in Washington. While he didn’t plead guilty, he did admit that there would be enough evidence for a jury to rule against him. He was convicted to one year in prison, but the judge suspended 350 days, so he only served 15 days of it, along with receiving two years of probation, according to Seattlepi.com.
12. Kirk Snyder
After breaking and entering into a home in Ohio, Kirk Snyder was arrested in 2009. He was charged with aggravated burglary after assaulting a man who lived in the home but pleaded not guilty due to insanity, which was rejected. Snyder was ordered to serve three years in jail and was held on a $550,000 bond. After being released, Snyder played with the Halifax Rainmen, a Canadian team and retired in 2011. Many consider Snyder’s poor decision as a waste of great NBA potential, as he was the 16th overall draft pick in the 2004 NBA draft coming out of the University of Nevada.
11. Charles Smith
Charles Smith, a guard from Georgetown University, went undrafted in the 1989 NBA draft. But Smith paved his own way into the NBA and played for the Boston Celtics (1989-1990) and Minnesota Timberwolves (1995). During his up-and-down basketball career, he also played for several Canadian and European teams. In 1992, he was convicted of vehicular homicide, according to The New York Times. Smith left the scene after hitting two Boston University students on March 22nd, 1991, committing a hit-and-run. He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, but only served 28 months.
10. Oliver Miller
Known as “the Big O” for his huge 6’9″, 280 pound stature, Oliver Miller was a center for several NBA teams. Unlike many other NBAers on this list, Miller committed his crime after his NBA career ended. Miller was involved in a “pistol whipping” altercation at a barbecue in April 2011. He was charged with counts of first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, possessing a handgun, using a handgun in a violent crime, possessing a handgun in a vehicle and disorderly conduct. Miller was sentenced to five years at Anne Arundel County Jail in Arnold, Md. Luckily for Miller, he got off relatively light, as four of the five years of his sentence were suspended, according to The Baltimore Sun.
9. Henry James
I can’t help but laugh when I think about Henry James’ crime. After playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks in the 1990s, James retired in 1998 and went on to make a living in other ways… if you know what I mean. This small forward from St. Mary’s University was convicted of two felonies after he sold $750 worth of cocaine to an undercover cop in 2006 and was sentenced to five years in prison, according to USA Today. Total face palm moment. What makes this crime even worse is that James’ two kids were present at the scene of his last drug deal. Although James had a successful basketball career, he definitely does not win the dad (or drug dealer) of the year award.
8. Allen Iverson
Even the beloved A.I. has been to jail. In 1993, Iverson was part of a mob fight at a bowling alley in Hampton, Va. Along with several of his friends, Iverson was arrested after allegedly striking a woman in the head with a chair. Ouch! Originally, the All-American 76ers shooting guard was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but after spending four months at a Newport News correctional facility, A.I. was pardoned by Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder. The overturning of Iverson’s case was due to insufficient evidence, as his attorney stated that he left the bowling alley as soon as the mob erupted.
7. Keon Clark
Keon Clark, former power forward for many teams, is currently in jail. After leaving the NBA in 2004, Clark faced multiple charges, including possession of marijuana and illegal weapons. According to Clark, Clark reportedly dealt with alcohol abuse and never played any of his NBA games sober. Later in 2013, Clark was sentenced to eight years in prison, where he resides today. He is three and a half years into his sentence.
6. Billy Ray Bates
Billy Ray Bates is a retired shooting guard who attended Kentucky State University. He spent four seasons in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Bullets and Los Angeles Lakers and had some success playing basketball overseas. Following Bates’ retirement in 1988, he robbed a Texaco gas station in New Jersey. During the robbery, Bates used a knife to cut the ear of an attendant at the station, according to Deadspin, landing him seven years in prison. He ended up serving almost five of those years.
5. Darrell Allums
Although Darrell Allum’s time in the NBA was short, his time in prison was not. Allums, a former power forward for the Dallas Mavericks, spent only one season as a pro-basketball player (1980-1981) and one year in the U-TEX Wranglers league in the Philippines. Yet, he spent nine years in jail after robbing a Domino’s Pizza delivery man on eight different occasions. Eight separate occasions? Maybe, he just really loved pizza.He was sentenced to nine years in his prison for his crimes, according to The Los Angeles Times.
4. William Bedford
Some NBAers struggle with drug addiction problems after they leave the league. William Bedford was no exception. The seven-foot center was picked sixth overall in the 1986 NBA draft and played for the Phoenix Suns (1986-1987), Detroit Pistons (1987-1992), and San Antonio Spurs (1992-1993). Sadly, once Bedford retired, he was arrested twice in 1996 and 1997, respectively, for drug possession. His biggest crime came in 2001 when he was caught transporting a whopping 25 pounds of marijuana to Michigan. Bedford was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to CommercialAppeal.com. Since his release in November 2011, Bedford has made an effort to remain active with basketball and coaches in Memphis.
3. Jack Molinas
Back in 1954, Jack Molinas played 32 games in the NBA with the Fort Wayne Pistons. Before he could even make a name for himself as a pro-basketball player, he was banned for life from the NBA for betting on games at Columbia University. You’d think Molinas would have learned his lesson from his first betting experience, but that was not the case. In the notorious 1961 point-shaving scandal, it was revealed that Molinas was involved as one of the bookies. He reportedly gave $250 to Connie Hawkins and was sentenced to 10-15 years in prison, even though he said he never expected Hawkins to throw games. Molinas only served five years of his sentence, but following his release from prison, he was murdered by in 1975, according to ESPN.
2. Daron “Mookie” Blaylock
Mookie Blaylock, a former NBA point guard, was involved in a terrible head-on collision in 2013. He was driving himself and a passenger, Monica Murphy, when his car crossed over the center line and caused the crash. Blaylock barely survived the crash as he was put on life support, but his passenger did not. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, that sentence was reduced to three years in prison as part of the plea deal. Blaylock who had a history of DUIs and drug interactions will be placed on eight years of probation following his prison release.
1. Eddie Johnson Jr.
“Fast Eddie” Johnson, the banned shooting guard for the SuperSonics, Hawks and Cavaliers, has collected plenty of arrests in the Florida Jail System for nearly everything. Yes, you read that right. Johnson has had his fair share of problems with drugs, sexual assault, burglary, violence and much more. You name it and Eddie Johnson has probably been arrested for it. In 2008, all of his charges caught up to him and Johnson’s life spun out of control. He was convicted to life in prison without parole for molesting an 8-year-old girl and is currently serving that sentence, according to OCALA.com.
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