Biggest Temper Tantrums in NBA History
Because NBA players don't get to wear anything more than a jersey and some shorts, plus some token arm bands and what-not, they are constantly exposed to the scrutiny of the millions watching. Temper tantrums tend to stand out, and these do more than the rest.
Whether it's constant griping about calls or truly making a scene, these nine players have contributed a few of the more whiny moments in the history of the Association. Some more than others.
Read on to find out what they are.
Rasheed Wallace's Career
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I'm going to have to start this list off by including the entire career of a legendary man named Rasheed Wallace. This man threw more temper tantrums than anyone else in NBA history and revisiting all of them here would take up way too much of your time.
Instead, I'll point you to one group of stats and one specific dislike.
When it comes to technical fouls, 'Sheed reigns supreme. He holds the all-time record for career technical fouls with 304 and set the single-season record during the 2000-2001 season with 41.
For whatever reason, Wallace seemed to hate towels.
How else do you explain this?
Latrell Sprewell Part 1
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Latrell Sprewell may never have reached Rasheed Wallace's level of temper-tantrumness, but you can tell from the title of the slide that he's special enough to have at least two entries.
The first major temper tantrum doesn't have any special video to go along with it, but it's quite the famous incident.
During a practice in 2007 with the Golden State Warriors, Spree decided that he'd had enough of P.J. Carlesimo's coaching so he threatened him and then proceeded to choke his head coach. He was subsequently suspended for 80 games.
The real kicker though is a set of two quotes from the forward:
1. On ESPN Classic's SportsCentury series: "There was just a buildup of anger and frustration and having it all bottled up and not being able to express myself. At that point, it just came to a head."
2. During a 60 Minutes interview: "I wasn't choking P.J. that hard. I mean, he could breathe."
Latrell Sprewell Part 2
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There are some athletes who are much better off not talking and just keeping their lips sealed at all times. Latrell Sprewell is one of those athletes.
I remember first hearing this ridiculously selfish quote while reading a Rick Reilly article back in 2004.
If you're reading this and you haven't heard this quote before (assuming of course that you're not a multimillionaire), sit down before going any further.
"Why would I want to help them win a title? They're not doing anything for me. I'm at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed. Anything could happen."
Really? $14.6 million isn't enough to feed your family? You're going to whine about that kind of money?
Kobe Bryant After Any Call
Did you know that if you type "Kobe Bryant referee" into the Getty Images database, you get 115 results? That's absolutely insane and shows just how often you can find Kobe complaining to the refs about what seems like each and every call.
I'm in no way trying to disrespect the greatness of Kobe's career, but it would have been a little more pleasant to watch him dominate if he'd managed to avoid throwing temper tantrums every single time a call doesn't go his way.
Whenever Bill Laimbeer Was on the Court
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*Cut to images of everyone who watched basketball in the 1980s and early 1990s nodding their heads*
Dennis Rodman Part 1
During this game in March of 1996, Dennis Rodman was ejected from the game and didn't exactly take kindly to it.
Instead of leaving the court quietly, Rodman stomped around for a few seconds and then head-butted the referee after jawing at him. He wasn't done.
Escorted off the court by Luc Longley, Rodman peeled off his jersey on the sidelines. He wasn't done.
Rodman then threw it back onto the court. He still wasn't done.
In one last move before he was suspended for six games without pay, Rodman shoved the water cooler over and stormed off.
A classy move by a classy guy.
Dennis Rodman Part 2
Don't worry, we aren't done with "The Worm" quite yet.
On Jan. 15, 1997 in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dennis Rodman tripped over cameraman Eugene Amos while scrambling for a loose ball out of bounds. Instead of apologizing to the man for tripping over him, Rodman instead reached out with his right leg and kicked Amos in the groin with as much force as he could muster.
Amos was carted off the court and Rodman received an 11-game suspension in addition to paying Amos a $200,000 settlement for his actions.
Andrew Bynum Plays Dirty
It's an inevitable fact that your team is going to lose in the playoffs at some point, maybe even in embarrassing fashion. When that happens, take it like a man and be a good sport. Don't pull an Andrew Bynum.
Down 98-68 to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Western Conference Semifinals, Bynum was a bit too frustrated and decided to take matters into his own hands...err...forearms.
When J.J. Barea drove into the lane, Bynum didn't even make any pretense of fouling him legally and clotheslined the much smaller point guard. As Barea lay on the ground in agony, Bynum stripped off his jersey during his long walk to the locker room.
Darko Milicic Vents (Mature Content Warning)
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This one didn't technically happen during an NBA contest, but it involves Darko Milicic, a player most famous for being a huge NBA draft bust.
This hyperlink contains a link to the video, but be warned that it contains quite a bit of profanity.
Here's a transcript of the translated interaction between Milicic and a reporter after a contest between Greece and Serbia in the 2007 Eurobasket Champonship:
Reporter: "Darko Milicic! What are your first impressions from the game?"
Milicic: "Nothing. These three s**t head referees have stolen us a victory. That's what happened. These three p*****s, these three s**t heads think they're something. I am gonna come back and f***k their mothers to all of them. That is my message to them. P*****s! And to this Italian p***y, I will fuck his mother. That's what I'm gonna do."
Reporter: "Darko, calm down. Tell us about your impressions."
Milicic: "S**t heads! Suck my d**k! You can write that. All three of them, I don't give a s**t about it. They were frightened and did not whistle anything. I am gonna f**k their mother in her mouth. I'm gonna f**k them all and if he has a daughter I'm gonna f**k her too."
Reporter says something unintelligible.
Milicic: "Look at me, we're fighting at the ground. I'm getting pissed off now. And they steal us like s**t heads. That's all."
Yeah...I think this qualifies as a temper tantrum.
Chris Mills Wants to Fight
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The details of this one are a little bit shaky, but here's what is generally thought to have happened.
After a particularly physical game on Dec. 20, 2002 against the Portland Trail Blazers, Chris Mills wanted to settle the score with Bonzi Wells.
He attempted to get into the locker room of the Blazers so that he could throw down with Wells, but was denied access. Not one to give up without a fight, Mills and a few others parked an SUV in front of Portland's team bus as Mills stood outside and challenged everyone to a physical confrontation of some sorts.
It is unknown whether he was armed or not and he may have followed the team bus to the airport for a while before turning away.
Regardless of the details, Mills earns a spot here for not leaving on the court what happened on the court.
Spencer Haywood Wants His Coach Killed
I can't say this any better than Bill Simmons, so let's roll with an excerpt about Spencer Haywood from page 144 of his "Book of Basketball.
We have to give first prize to the Broken Mirror himself, Spencer Haywood. After Paul Westhead suspended him for the '80 Finals, Haywood wrote in his 1988 autobiography that he hired a Mafia hit man to kill his coach before changing his mind. I'm almost positive this would have marred the Finals. Also, that revelation led to my favorite quote from the coke era: Haywood remembering in a book, "I left the Forum and drove off in my Rolls that night thinking one thought--that Westhead must die." I wish this had been my high school yearbook quote.
If that doesn't feel like an appropriate note to end on, then I don't know what does.