With the 2017-18 NBA season here, players are focused on honing their skills and making an impact in the league. Although NBA players have the fame, money, and an awesome lifestyle, they are still susceptible to dark moments like everyone else on this planet. Like every other sports organization, there can be a few bad apples or athletes that are in the wrong place at the wrong time in the NBA.
Before we continue further, this list is a blend of current and former stars and we would like to point out that not every player on here is a vile human being, things happen, disinformation is out there, and sometimes people just flat out lie. Some of the players on this list did a stupid thing and have repented while others never learned their lessons.
When we use the term "dark", we mean a nefarious way of thinking as well as the mindset they must be in after experiencing a horrifying event or charge against them. Just imagine sitting in a jail cell knowing you didn’t do anything wrong, imagine how big that dark cloud must be over your head. Imagine thinking all your hard work and legacy in the NBA might be over because you messed up that one-time. Enjoy.
15 Mike Scott
Selected in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks in 2012, not a lot of people thought he would still be in the league in 2017. The power forward’s best year came during the 2013-14 season where he put up 9.6 points-per-game and played in 80 games. Things outside the court would turn for the worse for Scott in 2015 when he was arrested for drug charges.
14 Chris Herren
The Denver Nuggets would select Herren in the second round of the 1999 NBA draft. He would only play two seasons in the NBA before taking his talents to the international circuit. While a member of the Boston Celtics, Herren would be introduced to OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. Herren would get hooked on these painkillers and it would eventually lead to heroin. After his career was over, in 2004 he would be arrested for possession and eventually overdosed on the drug.
13 P.J. Tucker
Selected by the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft, Tucker has become a steady hand as a depth player. He would only play one year with the Raptors before becoming a solid contributor for the Phoenix Suns. After spending five seasons with the Arizona franchise, Tucker went back to the team that drafted him last season.
12 Antoine Walker
Before the three ball was shot by every big man in the league, Antonio Walker was the originator of chucking up the long ball. We’re not saying Walker was terrible because he wasn’t, but he did launch a three-ball as often as a LeBron James dunked. Walker would be drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1996 and had a stellar career for his team.
11 Willie Reed
Undrafted players that produce in the NBA are rare these days but Reed is one of them. He would bounce around the NBA’s development league for several years until the Brooklyn Nets gave him a chance in 2015. Last season, Reed would sign with the Miami Heat and produce career highs in basically every category.
10 Mookie Blaylock
Blaylock would have a stellar career as a member of the New Jersey Nets, Atlanta Hawks, and Golden State Warriors. One of the best defenders of his generation, he was close several times to winning an NBA Championship. Blaylock’s dark moment didn’t come until after he was retired. Unfortunately, he would be involved in a deadly car accident in 2013.
9 Terrence Jones
The Portland native would be selected by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Coming out of Kentucky, Jones had high expectations to make an impact in the league. His stock was on the rise but since leaving the Rockets, Jones’ career has been tanking. He would play just 51 games for the New Orleans Pelicans and three games for the Milwaukee Bucks last season.
8 Dante Cunningham
As we mentioned in the intro, although these players experienced dark times in their lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re guilty of a crime. The case of Cunningham should be a firm reminder that people lie, especially if they can get money out of it. After being selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2009 NBA Draft, Cunningham would contribute right away off the bench.
7 Jayson Williams
Williams would be selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 1990 NBA Draft but wouldn’t become a rebounding machine until he became a member of the New Jersey Nets. Williams would be involved in one of the most publicized crimes to ever involve an NBA player. In 2002, limousine driver, Costas Christofi, was shot and killed on Williams' property. He was hired to drive Williams to and back from a charity event.
6 Zach Randolph
Randolph would spend one year at Michigan State before entering the 2001 NBA Draft. He would be selected in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers but it would take two seasons before he exploded into a Superstar. Randolph has always been a reliable option on the court but off the court, some of his hobbies have gone past what the law allows.
5 James Johnson
Coming out of Wake Forest, Johnson would be selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft. The forward has bounced around several teams such as the Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings, and Memphis Grizzlies since then but his best season was in 2016-17 when he averaged 12.8 points-per-game for the Miami Heat.
4 Tim Donaghy
We’re cheating here because Tim Donaghy was never an NBA player, however, his story needs to be told. Donaghy would be an NBA referee for the league from 1994 to 2007. He was respected, held in high-esteem, and worked countless games in the playoffs. Things would come crashing down for him in 2007 when the New York Post reported the FBI was looking into allegations of NBA officials betting on games.
3 Lamar Odom
The tragic story of Odom became a national headline due to his relationship with the Kardashians. One of the most gifted athletes on this list, Odom would succumb to major drug and alcohol abuse towards the end of his career. Odom believes hardcore drug abuse would be a factor in his career ending after 14 seasons. He explained being a reality television star on top of an NBA player just added to the drug-fueled lifestyle.
2 Eddie Johnson
Known as “Fast Eddie,” he’s one of the few players to be banned from the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks would select in the 1977 NBA Draft and he would play in the NBA for ten seasons. A two-time All-Star and one of the better defenders in the league, Johnson could have been known as a great player. Sadly, he’s known for his off the court issues more than his accomplishments on the court.
1 Javaris Crittenton
Once a first round pick selected by the Los Angeles Lakers, Crittenton is now serving 23 years in prison. Where did it all go wrong? The Georgia Tech standout wouldn’t have a major impact in the league when he became a professional in 2007. Four franchises would get rid of him and he would only play two seasons in the NBA. These franchises must have seen some character flaws because, in 2011, Crittenton would be charged with the murder of a mother of four.
Allegedly, he was trying to shot someone else but hit the woman instead. The tale would get darker as information came out he joined the Crips after becoming a Laker. He would be tied to the murder of a rival gang member and also was accused of selling cocaine and marijuana. In 2015, he would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
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