10 Most Vicious Plays in NBA History
The NBA is one of the most popular sporting leagues in the world, and one of the reasons is the heat of the competition it has on its courts. However, as we have seen most recently with Metta World Peace's elbow to James Harden's head, sometimes the heat of competition exceeds the maximum temperature that would normally be acceptable.
Thankfully, Harden was only afflicted with a concussion and is already back on the court with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not all players that have received the brunt of such attacks have been so lucky.
The NBA has restored its reputation in recent years, but it still is a place in which things can sometimes turn violent quickly. Remembering plays such as the recent World Peace one remind us of how far the game has evolved and how we as fans must be vocal about what we want from the product we are buying.
Without further ado, here are the 10 most vicious plays in NBA history.
10. Raja Bell Clotheslines Kobe Bryant
This particular play was during a heated playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns in 2006. Raja Bell and Kobe Bryant had been battling for the entire series and finally Bell had had enough of Bryant altogether.
The fact that Bell and the entire Phoenix team seem to be in complete favor of and proud of the play is what really makes it vicious. The look in Bell's eye afterward will haunt you.
9. Andrew Bynum Sends J.J. Barea to the Floor
Andrew Bynum is seven feet tall and weights 285 pounds. J.J. Barea is listed at six feet tall (probably less than that) and weighs 175 pounds. That's all you need to know to really understand how vicious this play was.
Bynum's immaturity is astounding on this play. He knows that his season is over, so he viciously attacks a much weaker opposing player so he can get off early for the day. That's basically what this amounts to.
8. Robert Horry Sends Steve Nash Flying
This is one of the only plays on this list that I remember watching live. I am a huge Steve Nash fan, so maybe I'm biased, but at the time I wanted to jump through the TV and ring Robert Horry's neck.
This is another example of a bigger guy hitting someone much smaller than him. Nash isn't going to the basket or even on that side of the court, he's just dribbling by and Horry decides to send him flying out of bounds.
This play resulted in Amare Stoudemire and a few other Phoenix players being suspended for the next playoff game, which probably won the San Antonio Spurs the title that season.
7. Carmelo Anthony Punches Mardy Collins
The part of this that people always seem to remember is Carmelo Anthony punching at Mardy Collins and then running away when pursued. The buildup to that is actually the vicious part.
J.R. Smith and Nate Robinson really get into it, rolling around in the stands after Smith is fouled hard on a layup. The part at the end with Anthony is really more hilarious than anything else. This play certainly didn't help the image of Carmelo Anthony with anyone.
Video can be found here.
6. Kevin McHale Won’t Let Kurt Rambis Get a Layup
This is one of those plays that old-timers will show you and then lecture you on how their NBA in their time was so much better and more physical than the present-day NBA.
It's true that this sort of thing did happen, although most plays weren't as rough as this one. Kurt Rambis gets a breakaway layup, and Kevin McHale decides that he'd prefer that Rambis did not take his own head with him on the way up.
Good old-time basketball? Maybe. Vicious play? Definitely.
5. P.J. Brown Throws Charlie Ward
Any time a rough play spills over off the court, it is never a good thing. The Miami Heat and New York Knicks met each other in the playoffs in four straight seasons from 1997-2000, forming one of the most heated professional sports rivalries ever during that time.
On this play, Charlie Ward tries to get position on P.J. Brown for a rebound off of the free-throw attempt. Brown responds by throwing Ward into the photographer's section and basically body slamming him.
As you can see, this causes a pretty big mess. That mess results in suspensions for John Starks, Allan Houston, Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson for the Knicks, who would go on to lose the series and, with it, the chance to face Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals.
Video can be found here.
4. Metta World Peace Elbows James Harden
This play has been talked to death, and I won't bother going into too much because I know you've heard a lot about it already. Metta World Peace (who we probably can go ahead and call Ron Artest again) was suspended for seven games, and James Harden missed the last two games of the regular season, returning in the first playoff game.
What really makes this play scary is how hard World Peace hits Harden. Just a few inches over and the result could have been unbelievably tragic for all parties involved.
3. Dennis Rodman Kicking Camera Man
Dennis Rodman was crazy during his time in the NBA and really is still crazy. After a bad play that doesn't go his way, the average player would be mad and would yell at his teammates, coach or himself in frustration.
Rodman's approach: kick the cameraman, it's his fault. The reason this is so high on the list is because it is not against another player, but rather an innocent spectator who is merely doing their job.
There are few worse things an NBA player can do, and those few things are coming up.
2. Kermit Washington Sucker-Punches Rudy Tomjanovich
This is one of the most famous "vicious" plays in NBA history.
Houston Rocket Rudy Tomjanovich appears to merely being running up to try and defuse the play at hand. Los Angeles Lakers forward Kermit Washington apparently opposes Rudy T's plan of action and sucker punches him in the face.
That punch basically shattered Tomjanovich's face, requiring many facial surgeries to repair, and he was never the same player again.
1. Malice at the Palace
As I stated before, it makes things much, much worse when an altercation on the court spills off of it. This is the most famous incident of that happening for good reason.
The linked video shows the entire brawl, including the buildup and aftermath. Ron Artest lays down on the scorer's table after getting hit by Ben Wallace, but when a cup is thrown at him, he takes the opportunity to track down the guilty party in the stands beat him to a pulp. The ironic part is that he actually starts beating up the wrong guy.
Artest has built a legacy of angry outbursts on and off the court, but this is the topper on everything. This will always be remembered as the ugliest, most vicious event in NBA history.