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The Biggest Criminal Records in the NBA

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2012

The Biggest Criminal Records in the NBA

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    It seems that the NBA gets a much worse rap around the country for its players being thugs and gangsters, despite the fact that most of the players with rap sheets haven't done much worse than your average Joe who has been behind bars a few times.

    The league did go through a rough patch in the mid-2000s, with the Jail Blazers and some of the more prominent players in the league going on trial (namely Kobe Bryant, who was acquitted).

    However, there are still a handful of players in the league who have gone through some legal issues in their days prior to and during their days in the NBA.

    There are a handful of players with marijuana possession charges, but in most places that's no more than a speeding ticket these days.

    So, here I have the players in the league who have had the most trouble with the law over the past handful of years.

Hilarious Mention: J.R. Smith

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    When the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks were gearing up for the NBA Championship last season, the New York Knicks' (then free agent) J.R. Smith was gearing up with something completely different in South Beach.

    In Miami, Smith was bopping around on his scooter (yep, a scooter) without a driver's license when he was pulled over and given a ticket. I wouldn't exactly call that a rap sheet, but that's not exactly something I could leave out now is it?

    There are only two questions I have left: did the scooter have a vanity license plate (I would go with BALLER or PLAYA myself), and is he planning on starting a scooter gang with Monta Ellis?

Kendrick Perkins

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    During the lockout, a time in which NBA players had very little constructive to do with their time, Kendrick Perkins was one of a few players to run into trouble with the law.

    Last August Perkins was picked up in a nightclub in Texas where he was intoxicated and attempting to fight the club's manager. From there he was pushed out of the club's back door where he continued to yell and attempted to fight a few more people.

Kyle Lowry

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    In what was one of the more interesting cases over the course of the lockout, Kyle Lowry was convicted for his actions at a charity game in Las Vegas.

    During the game, Lowry was so upset at the calls a female official was making that he verbally abused her and ended up throwing a basketball at her in the process.

    As a result of the incident, Lowry was ordered to undergo an "impulse-control management" course to go along with 100 hours of community service.

Sebastian Telfair

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    Before there was Delonte West there was Sebastian Telfiar, and Bassy doesn't even have the whole bipolar disorder as a defense.

    Back in 2007 when Telfair was struggling to get playing time for the Celtics (I think Telfair's tenure with any team is always accompanied with the phrase "struggling to get playing time"), Bassy was picked up in New York with a suspended license when he was going 77 miles per hour in a 45-mile per hour zone.

    To make things worse, Telfair picked up a gun possession charge when the arresting officer found a .45-caliber handgun under the passenger seat.

    This was the second time that Telfair had trouble with guns, as he was caught with a loaded gun in a pillowcase back on the team plane when he was with the Portland Trail Blazers (and struggling to get playing time).

Ben Wallace

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    Ben Wallace was yet another NBA player who ended up in handcuffs during the lockout prior to this season.

    Last September, Wallace was pulled over for suspicions of drunken driving when the police discovered a concealed weapon.

    For the charges, Wallace was forced to pay fines, undergo 30 hours of community service and a year of probation.

Jason Kidd

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    It seems to be a long time since anybody even mentioned Jason Kidd's arrest from back in 2001, but it was a pretty serious conviction back in the day.

    Kidd was charged with, and pleaded no contest to, spousal abuse charges for which he paid a $200 fine and was ordered to undergo anger management classes.

    The ironic thing is that six years later when the two divorced, Kidd filed a restraining order against his wife, alleging that she was abusing him at that point in their relationship.

Delonte West

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    When Delonte West isn't playing stellar defense and draining the stray shot here and there he's milling around being an all-around interesting person.

    However, back in 2009 West was picked up in Maryland while speeding on his motorcycle when the cops discovered a Beretta 9mm handgun, a Ruger .357 magnum handgun, and a Remington 870 shotgun in a guitar case.

    West pleaded guilty to two counts of gun charges and was sentenced to eight months of house arrest, 40 hours of community service and two months of probation.

DeShawn Stevenson

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    DeShawn Stevenson has been arrested a few times in his NBA career, once early in his life and once more recently.

    As a young guard for the Utah Jazz, DeShawn Stevenson was accused and convicted of the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl when he was 20. Stevenson was convicted and served community service for a case that was changed from a felony to a misdemeanor.

    More recently, and more forgivingly, Stevenson was picked up for public intoxication. When was it he was picked up? You guessed it, just two days after the Dallas Mavericks won their first championship in June.

    The thing that surprises me about Stevenson's public intoxication arrest isn't that it happened, it's that it doesn't happen more often in sports. How is it that every time a team wins the title there isn't at least one guy ending up in a drunk tank?

Caron Butler

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    After appearing on Oprah back in 2005, Caron Butler talked about his troubled past as a kid which included him being arrested 15 times before he turned 15 years old.

    The good thing about Butler's arrest record is that he seems to have rehabilitated himself since then, as he went from jail to the NBA in five years with no real incidents in between.

Ron Metta World Artest

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    Back when Metta World Peace was known as Ron Artest, and back before he became the more level-headed individual that he is today, Artest had quite a tough time with controlling his anger.

    First, Artest was tried and convicted for his part in the Pacers-Pistons brawl back in 2004 for which he was ordered to undergo community service and a year of probation.

    The next incident came in 2007 when Artest had moved on to the Sacramento Kings. Artest would plead no contest to a spousal abuse charge from March of that year. Stemming from that arrest, Artest was ordered to undergo 100 hours of community service, a 10-day work program with the sheriff's office to go along with a $600 fine and counseling. 

    I suppose it's a good thing that he changed his name, especially since Artest is just one letter away from "arrest."

    If you are one of those Twitterers, you can follow me @JDorsey33.

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