Most Boneheaded Moments in NBA History

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2012

Most Boneheaded Moments in NBA History

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    The NBA, much like any other sports league out there, is a far-from-perfect entity. There are constantly things happening with the commissioner, owners or players that make you scratch your head and think, "Huh?"

    However, there are some moments in NBA history that stick out far more than others, not only because they are so ridiculous, but also because one person had to act so recklessly that it seems unlikely it would have ever happened without a moment of severe boneheadedness.

    Some things are as simple as a player injuring himself in a silly way or a single person flaming off at the mouth, while others are franchise destroyers and have crippled a team for a decade or more.

    With the playoffs approaching and the NBA moving toward what it hopes will be a bonehead-free next couple of months, I figured that I would take a look at the most dim-witted, silly things to have happened in the NBA in years past.

Tony Allen Tears His ACL...After the Play

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    There once was a time when the Tony Allen that we all know was the Tony Allen that Boston fans knew. Sure, he was still a stellar defender, but he also did things every now and then that just boggled the mind.

    The one thing that takes the cake has to be when Allen went up for an uncontested dunk late in a game against the Indiana Pacers back in 2007.

    After the referee had blown the whistle, Allen continued driving to the rim, went up and threw down a dunk. But instead of basking in the crowd's reaction, all he got to hear were gasps as he landed awkwardly and ended up tearing his ACL, ruining the rest of his season.

Dan Gilbert's Guarantee

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    In what is now the most infamous "open letter" in the history of this league, Dan Gilbert went into a rage against LeBron James after James decided to leave Cleveland via free agency.

    Gilbert, apparently riled up that LeBron hadn't informed the team beforehand that he would be leaving, fired off at the superstar, claiming in true Internet-rage fashion with all caps that the Cavs would win a championship before LeBron James did.

    It's a nice thought and a reassurance to Cavs fans that he has that much dedication to the team, but realistically, that's a pipe dream.

    However, I guess he still has time to come through on his promise, as both teams are title-less since the incident.

Monta Ellis' Scooter Crash

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    Who doesn't like a good ride on a moped every once in a while, right? Surely Monta Ellis does.

    However, seeing as how riding any kind of "dangerous" vehicle is prohibited under most general player contracts, it seems as if the wiry guard would be wise enough to stay away from them.

    When Ellis came down with a torn ligament in his ankle, and it was mysteriously explained as an injury that happened while Ellis was working out at home, details were a bit murky.

    It later came out that Ellis had crashed his scooter, leading to an injury that required surgery and a suspension without pay for Ellis.

Michael Jordan's Comeback

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    I have to say that for his third stint in the NBA, Michael Jordan's time on the Wizards was pretty impressive, but it wasn't the Michael Jordan we knew.

    Jordan, as a 38- to 40-year-old man, put up north of 20 points, five rebounds and four assists a game for the Wizards, but the team never made the playoffs and finished an uninspiring 37-45 both years he suited up.

    Plus, the dude just looked weird in blue.

Anyone Rapping Ever

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    The NBA (and professional sports in general, for that matter) has a culture around it that sometimes leads to lines blurring when it comes to discerning the difference between fame and talent. This will usually manifest itself in an NBA player coming out with a rap album.

    The most notable failed NBA rappers range from Shaquille O'Neal to Ron Artest (before he was an advocate for world peace) and Kobe Bryant.

    Actually, the only NBA player that I've heard rap with any bit of skill would have to be Joe Smith, who started to throw down on the microphone as he got older.

Isiah Thomas in Any Front Office

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    What could possibly be worse for the league in terms of front office hijinks than anything Isiah Thomas did?

    Take some bad trades, worse free-agent signings and a sexual harassment lawsuit, all from the person who is running one of the four most recognizable franchises in the league, and you've got David Stern's worst nightmare.

    Over the course of just over five years, Thomas got raked over the coals in the New York media for his bad signings (Jerome James), trades (Eddy Curry and junk for Tim Thomas and picks that would become LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah) and utter buffoonery that has now led to any Knicks fan reacting violently just at the mention of that name.

Ted Stepien's Existence

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    There are bad owners and penny-pinching owners, and then there are owners like Ted Stepien. Over the course of just over two seasons, Stepien ruined a decade of basketball in Cleveland.

    Stepien had the nasty habit of trading away draft picks for crashing veterans, leading to Cleveland missing out on guys like James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Derek Harper, Roy Tarpley and Detlef Schrempf, while basking in the glory of guys like Don Ford, Mike Bratz and the legendary Jerome Whitehead.

    He was such a bad owner that the league came down with the decision that a team can't trade first-round draft picks in consecutive seasons just to keep something like this from happening again.

The Sonics Are Stolen

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    At the time, it was too rapid and too sudden for many people to realize what was going on, but as Clay Bennett was ripping the SuperSonics out of Seattle, few people outside of Seattle really took notice of the boneheadedness happening.

    Bennett unleashed his "plan" to keep the Sonics in Seattle with a proposed new arena that he knew the city would never build. Ten months later, he informed the league that he intended to move the team to Oklahoma City.

    The entire deal was so sullied with grime and muck that everyone connected to it still has the stank lingering on them, namely Bennett and David Stern.

Gilbert Arenas' Gun Dance

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    In the middle of the 2010 season, Gilbert Arenas was dealing with both the decline of his game and heat from the league after an incident involving him and Javaris Crittenton, in which he pulled out a gun in an argument with the big guard.

    Arenas, before the league had decided to suspend him, decided to poke fun at the whole thing soon after it happened, as he pretended to shoot his teammates during the introduction of a game soon after the incident.

    David Stern was not amused.

The Decision

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    There are some things that seem so surreal while they're happening that it's hard to forget a single detail.

    Everything about the Decision, from LeBron James' checkered button-down to Jim Gray's crooning to the camera to the not-so-subtle Vitamin Water advertisement, came across as contrived.

    Nothing about what was going on was natural; it just seemed so against the grain, and in a bad way. Even donating the show's profits to the Boys & Girls Club seemed to be little more than a cover-up for what it was: a sycophantic, hour-long lovefest about one player and his trip to another city.

    It normally takes a huge incident for a player's reputation to be torn to shreds, but all it took LeBron was a single hour-long special.

David Stern Grabs Control

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    We all know that David Stern's goal as the league's commissioner seems to be to rule over the league as intently as possible without appearing to be the league dictator.

    Well, he salsa danced all over that line last December.

    In what has become one of many infamous incidents in Stern's tenure, the league commissioner vetoed a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers for now-famous "basketball reasons."

    What it came across as, however, was a commissioner fed up with players guiding their way to large-market teams through trade demands and threats, so he stopped it from happening.

    This incident will forever be remembered as the straw that broke the camel's back in the eyes of many NBA fans when it came to their opinion of Stern.

The Malice at the Palace

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    The Butterfly Effect is a theory in which a small incident in one place can create huge consequences elsewhere, as was the case on an infamous night in Detroit.

    We all know the story by now: Ron Artest squabbles with Ben Wallace. He backs away and lies on the media table. A drink hits him, and he charges into the stands and out of the league for the rest of the year.

    If just one thing went differently—maybe if either team had taken its starters out (it was late in a blowout), or if the Pacers hadn't been giving Wallace hard fouls all game long, or if Wallace decided to take a rough encounter with Artest less seriously, or if Artest made a series of better decisions leading up to his eventual charge into the stands—we would have a non-story.

    Alas, it went down the way it went down, and here we are talking about it nearly a decade later after it changed the league in more ways than one.

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