People go to jail sometimes. NBA players are no different, as we have seen multiple players in the league go to the big house for different crimes. You would think that the millions of dollars, excitement, and lifestyle of playing in the NBA would help steer players away from getting into trouble with the law, but we have seen that even incredible basketball players like the guys on the list below aren't above the law. The crimes committed by the players below vary from marijuana possession to murder sadly. Some players get out with out any serious issues while other players career were ruined by a bad decision.
In this article, we will be looking at 15 NBA players who went to jail, and the crime that got them there. NBA players are regular people just like you and me, and it shouldn't be very surprising that a few players made some bad decisions when it comes to the law, and ended up in the slammer. However, some of these players REALLY crossed the line and committed some heinous crimes, which had them removed from society.
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Here are 15 NBA Players Who Went To Jail (And The Crime That Got Them There)
15 "Cadillac" Anderson - Intent To Sell "Powder"
Gregory "Cadillac" Anderson had a pretty good career in the NBA, and the fact he had to serve time in prison is something that he definitely regrets. After having a solid college career at the University of Houston, Anderson was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1987 NBA Draft with the 23rd pick. A solid big man for the Spurs, he also played for the Bucks, Nets, Nuggets, Pistons, and Hawks, a true NBA journey man you could say. In 1998 however while he was playing for the Hawks, he pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and having an intent to sell in Biloxi, Mississippi. He spent 5 months in prison, never making a return back to the NBA, but he did play for Belgrano de San Nicolás for one season, an overseas team in the LNB league.
14 Oliver Miller - Pistol Whipping
Oliver Miller was nicknamed "The Big O," and seeing that he came into the league at 6 foot 9 and over 300 pounds, you can see why. Weight problems actually really ended up deterring his career however, as he was once at 380 pounds during his career, which really affected his stamina and mobility on the court. He was drafted with the 22nd pick in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, but his best year came with the Raptors, where he averaged a little over 12 points and 7 rebounds per game.
Miller seemed to be living a normal life in retirement, but in April 2011, it all went wrong. Miller was accused of pistol whipping a man at a barbecue in Arnold Maryland following an altercation with the victim. He had to serve one year in prison, followed by five years of probation.
13 J.R. Smith - Reckless Driving
J.R. Smith is one of the more relevant players in the league and is liked by many fans of the NBA, but most people aren't aware that the Cavaliers shooting guard spent over 20 days in the slammer during his career. In 2007, Smith was driving his SUV with another passenger and crashed when he ran through a stop sign colliding with another car. He was even ejected from the car due to not wearing a seatbelt. Court trials went on for another two years, before he pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charges.
He was sentenced to 90 days in prison for his actions, but only had to serve 24 days in jail due to his over 500 hours of community service. We wonder, was he also driving without a shirt?
12 Tate George - Ponzi Scheme
I didn't expect to see the crime Ponzi scheme come up while researching these players, but sure enough there really was a former NBA player who dabbled in the fine arts of the Ponzi scheme. Tate George was a UConn legend due to his epic game winning shot in the Sweet Sixteen of the 1990 NCAA Tournament against Clemson. Drafted with the 22nd pick in the 1990 NBA Draft to the Nets, George didn't have as epic of a NBA career. He played a few seasons with the Nets before he was out of the league, but he did come back and play for the Bucks in 1995. Playing for a few other teams in the CBA league, George retired in 1997. During retirement, George founded The George Group, a real estate development company. He was then arrested for his alleged involvement in wire fraud with the company. He is now serving nine years in prison, after he was unable to pay the $250,000 fine.
11 Billy Ray Bates - Robbing Gas Station
Billy Ray Bates name is pretty cool, but his actions off the court aren't as cool sadly. He played four seasons at Kentucky State, where he was able to build enough of a basketball career there to be drafted into the NBA in the year 1978, as he was drafted with the 47th pick by the Houston Rockets. He didn't make the team that drafted however, and wasn't able to debut in the NBA until years later when he played for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1980. He ended his career three years later with the Los Angeles Lakers, and played a few more seasons overseas before calling it quits.
His few years in the league and time overseas must have not put enough food on the table for him, because in 1998, Bates robbed a New Jersey gas station at knife point, even slashing the ear of the cashier. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for his actions that cold January night.
10 Sly Williams - Kidnapping, S** Assault
Sly Williams spent three seasons at the University of Rhode Island, before he was drafted in the first round of the 1979 NBA Draft, by the New York Knicks with the 21st selection. Sly Williams had a great high-school and college career, but his NBA career wasn't very special. He played a few seasons with the Knicks, the Hawks, and spent his final year in 85' with the Boston Celtics. He will be remembered by Knicks fans for being the last player to wear number 33 before Patrick Ewing, so there's that.
After staying out of the spotlight for many years since his retirement, Williams committed some heinous actions. First, in September 2001, he kidnapped a woman and held her captive for over 24 hours, threatening her the whole time. He then sexually assaulted another woman in January 2002. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August, 2002. He was somehow only sentenced to five years in prison, and was released after only spending 3 and a half in prison.
9 Isaiah Rider - Possession of "Powder", Battery, Evading Police
Isaiah Rider did try to have a rap career, and rappers now a days talk about stuff they haven't lived, so I have to give Isaiah some props for actually living what he raps about. Rider was taken with the 5th pick in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, so the sky was supposed to be the limit for the young player out of UNLV. He was a solid player as a rookie and young star for the Wolves, and even with being traded to the Trail Blazers he had a solid time with them averaging over 19 points per game one season. Rider was even able to win a NBA championship ring with the Lakers in 2001, the team being nice enough to give him a ring even though he wasn't on the playoff roster.
During his career, Rider had a few personal problems he was able to keep from completely deterring his life, but after retirement, staying out of the law became a problem. In 2007, he was sentenced to seven months in jail after pleading guilty to cocaine possession, evading the police, and other charges including battery as well.
8 William Bedford - Transporting Substances
William Bedford can certainly be classified as an NBA bust. He was drafted with the 6th pick in the 1986 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, and he never turned out to be the franchise center Phoenix thought he was going to be for them. He had a great college career at the University of Memphis, but drugs sadly ruined his career, as his play in the league was just bad to say the least which is why he was out of the NBA by the year 1993, a bench player each season. He was arrested twice in both 1996 and 1997 for drug possession, but his big crime came in 2001, where he was convicted of transporting 25 pounds of MJ across Michigan. He was sentenced to 1o years in prison.
7 Ruben Patterson - S** Assault
Ruben Patterson played at both Independence CC and Cincinnati college for four years, before being drafted in 1998 with the 31st pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. He actually had a pretty solid career after being taken in the second round, as he averaged over 10 points over his entire career, which is a lot better than some of the other NBA/convicted criminals on this list. He even nicknamed himself, "The Kobe Stopper," as he believed he could play the best defense in the league against Kobe Bryant. He retired from the league in 2007 with the Los Angeles Clippers.
As for what he did, Patterson was forced to register as a sex offender after forcing himself on his child's nanny in 2000. He was sentenced to a light 15-day prison sentence and managed to avoid jail time.
6 Allen Iverson - Hitting A Woman With Chair
If things went a bit differently than how they did when it comes to this controversial, Allen Iverson may have never stepped foot on an NBA court. Iverson was quickly becoming a sensation in his hometown of Virginia for his excellent basketball and football talents, but despite the success on the field, an incident on a bowling alley put Iverson and others in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Back when he was just a teenager in 1993, Iverson and his friends were involved in an altercation with several others at a bowling alley in Hampton, Virginia. The incident was reported as Iverson and his group of friends being a little too loud, which led to an altercation with another group.
One group was black, the other was white, so on top of the altercation, there were some racial tensions. In the heat of the moment, Iverson allegedly ended up striking a woman with a chair. He drew a five year sentence, which could have ruined his career, but he was pardoned after spending four months in the slammer at 17 years old.
5 Mookie Blaylock - Vehicular Homicide
Fans of 90's basketball probably know the name "Mookie" Blaylock, as he really did make a big enough impact during his time in the league to be remembered. After being taken with the 12th pick in the 1989 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, Blaylock went on to be one of the best defenders of the era, as he was a All-NBA Defensive player 6 times in his career, and is honestly one of the greatest Atlanta Hawks of all-time. Sadly, in 2013, Blaylock was involved in a head on collision, where he swerved over the lines and hit another car head on. He killed a women in the other vehicle, and was convicted of vehicular manslaughter which he pleaded guilty to. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which he is still serving to this day.
4 Tom Payne - Forcing Himself On Women
Tom Payne is could have had a very solid NBA career, as he dominated the basketball world due to his 7'1" height and talent on the court. After playing just one season at Kentucky, Payne declared for the NBA Draft and was selected by the Atlanta Hawks. His career in the league was much worse than in college, as he only averaged about 4 points in 29 games for the Hawks. His father's death may have had an influence on his lack of play, as he stated that his dad was his biggest influence in his life. His career ended just like that in 1972, when he was convicted of rape cases in the Atlanta area. After his release of prison in Atlanta, he was extradited to Kentucky where he served more time for rape cases he committed there. He later moved to Hollywood to become an actor after his time in prison, but was arrested once again when police found him raping a woman in Los Angeles.
3 Jack Molinas - Bribing Other Players
The earliest convict on this list, Jack Molinas was an all-star NBA player in the 50's which is probably why you don't know who he is. Molinas was drafted with the 3rd pick in the 1953 NBA Draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons, and managed to be an all-star the one season he was in the league. It was later found out that Molinas was allegedly bribing players during his college time at Columbia to throw games, and was even one of the bookies in the 1961 point shaving scandal. Due to his actions at Columbia, he was banned from the NBA after 32 games, and due to his actions in 1961, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which he only ended up serving five years of.
2 Eddie Johnson - Arrested Over 100 Times
Eddie Johnson is one of the better players on this list, as he really did make a mark on the league even with his short time playing NBA basketball. Drafted with the 49th pick in the 1977 NBA Draft, Johnson turned out to be an all-star player during his time with the Atlanta Hawks, he even made it to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team twice in his career. Drug problems sadly costed him his career, as he was banned from the league after failing multiple drug tests in 1987. He was arrested over 100 times and was in and out of the Florida prison system five times. In 2008, he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
1 Javaris Crittenton - Homicide
Javaris Crittenton is much more known for his actions off the court rather than on the court, as he will be infamously remembered by fans of the NBA. Considered one of the worst Los Angeles Lakers draft picks of all-time, he was selected 19th in the 2007 NBA Draft. He played one lone season with the Lakers, and then played for both the Grizzlies and the Wizards before being out of the league by 2009. In 2011, Javaris killed a 22-year-old mother of four, who was allegedly not the target, as Javaris was most likely trying to kill a man who robbed him that same year. He was released on $230,000 bond that same year. It took 4 years for justice to find it's way to Javaris, as he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter of Julian Jones, and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.