From superstar athletes to those favorite players of ours with just a small cult following, they are all prone to a brain fart every now and again. Whether it is on the field or when they are at the club with their boys, even the most well rounded of professional athletes can slip up.
But there are slip-ups and then there is total, utter stupidity. We’ve heard copious amounts of news in recent months about how a plethora of NFL players just can’t seem to make a right move in both their professional and private lives (I’m looking at you in particular, Johnny Manziel), but what about in the Association?
With the regular season around the corner, I couldn’t think of a better way to start preparing than to reminisce, laugh or regrettably remind ourselves, that our on-court idols are really humans too.
What follows is a list of 15 incidents where NBA players made dumb decisions, both on or off the court. Some are gravely serious and will be discussed in that manner, others are just plain stupid and will be thrown the shade they deserve.
So give the regular season over/under betting a rest for a minute and consider these infamous moments in NBA history.
15 Shaq makes Kazaam
Okay, we can never begrudge athletes trying to make more money and Shaquille O’Neal has done a great of job of doing just that.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying that essentially he’s become an NBA equivalent to Peyton Manning. Both these retired stars seem to endorse just about everything, and are making a ton of money from it.
But we may have shoved this little effort by Shaq in 1996 deep into the recesses of our memory – and quite rightly so.
Part of me feels wrong for criticizing what is really a silly kids film and I shouldn’t be so prudish. But this is a bad kids film and Shaquille O’Neal as a genie (conveniently only a few years after Robin Williams voiced one in Aladdin) is just plain cringe worthy.
14 Harden’s new Adidas kicks
Adidas’ JHarden 1’s are just one pair in a long line of incredibly ugly basketball kicks.
But the all black-colored edition is part-Rockport walking shoe and part-Monopoly boot playing piece. These shoes guaranteed Harden would have a slow start to making any type of a dent in the already very crowded shoe game.
Adidas has played second fiddle to Nike (and now Under Armour) for eons in basketball. With efforts like this, they’ve essentially cemented their status for quite some time now.
Students won’t even be able to wear these at school either, as they’re uglier than anything moms will buy for the start of the school year, for both the classroom and Sundays at church.
I know I’d rather deal with foot pain than wear these.
And on that note…
13 Curry’s New Balance lookalikes
Stephen Curry is undoubtedly the most popular player in the league. Kids love his seemingly attainable playing style, and his jersey is consistently the highest sold at stores. He’s a charismatic, charming and talented young player, who seemingly cant put a foot wrong.
That was until the Curry 2 Low Chefs came out. They have been compared to what Jerry would wear in Seinfeld during the mid-90s, to what nurses wear around hospital wards.
For a player with such shooting flair, these kicks are far too dour. New Balance must be getting ready for an Apple vs. Samsung styled lawsuit here for copying likeness.
If you wear these new to school, then you deserve every foot stomp from your buddies, because these should be seen and not worn.
12 Damon and Rasheed star in ‘Up in Smoke in Oregon’
Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace were two great buddies who seemed to gel well, both on and off the court during their time with the Portland Trail Blazers. They always chilled with each other – but in a November 2003 incident, we found out why.
Stoudamire and Wallace were in a car that was pulled over by Oregon police and were arrested for marijuana possession and being under the influence. Stoudamire copped a 90-day suspension from the Blazers for it (and other marijuana possession issues prior).
The incident was immortalized briefly in a Chappelle’s Show sketch where Chappelle humorously extends the notion of saying “Kobe!” when you throw something in the trash.
While they are far from being the only players in NBA history in similar instances, they were certainly the most unrepentant.
Allen Iverson had a habit of making previous commissioner David Stern uncomfortable, even being rumored to be one of the reasons Stern would institute dress codes for players sitting on the sidelines whilst injured. But in the winter of 2000, fans were excited about Iverson dropping his hip-hop debut ‘Misunderstood’, under the name Jewelz. Controversy surrounded the album, largely from some lyrics that drew the ire of Stern and other African-American interest groups. Consequently, it never made the store shelves.
The exercise proved to more proof to the notion that NBA players yearn for the microphone, and rappers to play in the league.
Iverson was pretty far from ever being in the Nas echelon of hip-hop, but probably would have given some of today’s artists a run for their money.
10 10 Laimbeer vs. The Chief
Bill Laimbeer was an integral part of the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys squad who won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. He was also probably the most hated player in the game at the time, and likely still is in Boston. Known for cheap shots and trash talking, Laimbeer found himself on the receiving end of the whistle and scuffles on an extraordinary amount of occasions.
One game though, he went too far with Boston Celtics center Robert Parish. Parish, uncharacteristically it must be noted, let fly with a number of blows to Laimbeer’s head under the basket, quite probably for a myriad of incidents earlier in the game.
While one should never condone violence, and Laimbeer wasn’t injured in the incident, fans all over the country rejoiced at the retribution being unleashed on Laimbeer.
9 Javale McGee in general
I feel an element of guilt with this entry as McGee hasn’t done anything egregious on the court like some other players on this list, nor is he a thug off it. From all we can gather, he’s just a loveable doofus.
McGee’s entry on this chart is one of humor and because he has made so many dumb decisions during games.
Poor Javale has essentially owned the ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool’ segment on TNT broadcasts with his litany of boneheaded decisions on the court.
The talent and athleticism is there, to some extent, but he really needs to stop acting like a hyperactive showoff in games. He embodies that one teammate we all have had in pickup games who we just shake our heads at in disbelief, but can’t stay mad at forever.
8 “The Decision”
LeBron has come a long way since that infamous broadcast on ESPN where he announced his departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat. Doesn’t this seem like so long ago now? Who could forget the footage of those Cleveland bars filled with Cavs fans with their hands on their heads, and later burning their jerseys in the streets?
LeBron’s announcement to join the Heat was unfortunately an example of the height of hubris. When he said, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach…” people were either gob smacked by the arrogance of the phrase or shocked that he was joining a franchise with so much talent already.
LeBron would grow up significantly after this episode and eventually returned to Cleveland and won a title. But many fans will never be able to wipe the phrase, “I’m taking my talents…” from their memories.
7 Guns are bad (Part 1)
Jayson Williams was a talented forward for the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets, even earning All-Star Game honors in 1998. However, his career was cut short in 1999 from a horrific leg injury he suffered in a collision with teammate Stephon Marbury.
Unfortunately Williams was a troubled individual off the court, being involved in a number of fights and other offenses with police.
These pale in comparison to what happened to Williams in February 2002 however, when Williams accidentally killed his limousine driver after a charity basketball tournament. It was said that he was playing with a shotgun while giving a tour of his house and it went off, killing the driver. Even more shockingly, court documents reported that he attempted to cover up the fatal incident.
6 Kermit’s punch
If you don’t know what I’m referring to, the only thing I can say is that the grainy footage of this doesn’t convey the severity of the punch.
This was a horrific incident.
In 1977, Kermit Washington (then a Laker) was on the outskirts of a fight in midcourt during a game with the Houston Rockets. Rudy Tomjanovich ran toward the fight in an attempt to break it up. Washington, seeing Tomjanovich running toward the incident turned and floored Tomjanovich. Players said the pool of blood and sound of the punch was shocking and sickening, and rumors spread that spinal fluid gushed onto the court also.
Tomjanovich would be sidelined for five months and never be the same as a player, while Washington would fade into obscurity after the stain of the incident appeared too big to ignore for other teams.
5 Guns are bad (Part 2)
Gilbert Arenas was a talented point guard out of Arizona and was drafted in 2001 by the Golden State Warriors. He hopped around the league though, seemingly outlasting any welcome where he played.
His character issues came to a head during his time with the Washington Wizards, specifically with ex-teammate Javaris Crittenton. The two liked to dabble in card games on team flights, but after a few bad hands, Crittenton started to owe more than he would have liked to Arenas. For some reason, Arenas felt storing guns in his locker may be a way of solving the issue and put pressure on Crittenton, and Crittenton also felt it was a good idea.
Arenas would be charged with numerous firearm offences and incur an indefinite suspension without pay before moving onto Orlando where he was amnestied.
4 Shaq and Kobe split
What might have been, am I right? Shaquille O’Neal joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 and formed a dynamic duo with a young Kobe Bryant, winning three NBA titles in the process. But, at a time when the competition in the league wasn’t strong, it became a semi-tragedy of sorts that the two couldn’t sort out their differences and just play basketball.
Given Shaq’s dominance at the center position and Kobe’s best Michael Jordan impersonation, five or more NBA Championships would not have been too far out of the question. The Lakers would ultimately hitch their wagon to the young guard and make the best of the unworkable situation. O’Neal would win another title in Miami with Dwyane Wade. Kobe would eventually lead the Lakers to titles in 2009 and 2010.
If they stayed together in Los Angeles, we would have a very different NBA landscape today.
3 Rodman’s issues
Dennis Rodman was not a bit part player during his time in the NBA by any means. He was a crucial part to all the teams he played on, especially on those late 90s Chicago Bulls teams, as we all know.
But his numerous issues both on and off the court are well documented and collectively can be referred to as dumb decisions. Is there a collective noun for lots of dumb decisions? Maybe we can start calling them ‘a Rodman of bad decisions’.
Rodman at various times; kicked a courtside photographer in the groin, headbutted Stacey King, John Stockton and an official, had a brief and very public fling with Madonna, got numerous ejections from games by officials, had a motorcycle accident, and wanted at one point to “marry himself”.
2 Kobe’s sexual assault case
When this occurred it was a massive scandal and a potentially career killing one for the future Hall of Famer. To this day, many crime reporters argue this would have been the correct outcome, given the appalling details of the case.
In 2003, it was alleged that Bryant raped a hotel employee while in Eagle, Colorado prior to a scheduled surgery.
The case would go for many months and in September 2004, it would be dismissed after the victim refused to testify against Bryant. The victim would later file a civil suit against Bryant though, which would be settled out of court.
Questions about Bryant’s character and innocence would linger for years in both sport and tabloid circles. It would ultimately cost him his marriage for a few years before reconciling with his wife.
1 Malice at the Palace
When you watch this video now, it doesn’t quite capture the total mayhem at the time and idiocy of one Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace.
During a tense game against the Detroit Pistons, the then Pacer forward was caught up in a last minute shoving match with Pistons’ center Ben Wallace. For reasons only known to Artest, he decided to lay on the scorer’s table to calm down. Then, for reasons only known to a particular fan, a soda would be thrown on Artest from up in the stands to which Artest calmly responded to by charging into the stands and start a massive brawl that would spill onto the court.
Artest attacked the wrong fan also. The fans let their feelings known to the visiting Pacers and the game was abandoned.
Later, Artest infamously and incredulously asked teammate Stephen Jackson if they would get into trouble. You think?!