Dwight Howard and the 10 Biggest Babies in NBA History
It's hard to imagine that there was ever a well-liked referee in the NBA—at least from the players' perspective. Night in and night out, we see players pleading their innocence to officials as if they were wrongfully accused of committing a crime.
Surely, some of the complaints against refs are warranted after questionable calls, but the vast majority are made by players simply whining.
There are players who complain when they are justified, players who complain when they believe they are justified, and then there are the flat-out, slobbering babies of basketball.
These are the players who hold two jobs in the NBA: playing basketball and crying to officials.
This oughta be fun.
Non-Player Honorable Mentions: Mark Cuban, Spike Lee, and Jack Nicholson
This list was much more difficult to compile than one might think. With the literally hundreds of players throughout NBA history who have cried on a regular basis, it's hard to pick a top 10.
Some of the most famous babies in NBA arenas aren't players at all. Plenty of celebrities and non-player personnel alike have made fools of themselves as well.
Here are the top sideline whiners:
One thing you're guaranteed to see on the sidelines of any Knicks home game: film director Spike Lee. Spike isn't just an average fan, either. He makes the average heckler look like a choir boy. In fact, Lee gets in the refs' ears about as much, if not more, than the average coach. Maybe Spike should Do the Right Thing once in a while and just tweet about bad calls like a normal fan.
Jack may have actually set a precedent for Spike Lee. Nicholson's been attending games since the '70s, and he'll probably be courtside until kingdom come. Nicholson definitely gets his money's worth too, often talking to opposing players and refs, and can be seen screaming expletives in slow-motion replay during almost any Lakers home game.
When it comes to non-player babies, Mark Cuban wears the biggest diaper of them all. The Mavericks' owner has to have Dr. Scholl's in at all times for the amount of time he spends on his feet during the game. Granted, Cuban has a little more invested in the team since he's the owner, but it doesn't excuse the behavior he displays when he disagrees with the referees' calls.
The Mavericks' owner hasn't gotten away with all of his tantrums, either. Since Cuban has been the Dallas owner, he's racked up around $1.8 million in fines along with three games' worth of suspension.
I also want to make a special shout-out to renowned NBA "bad boy," Stephen Jackson, who was quoted by the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports) last season saying, "I get techs because I want to." Clearly, he's transcended being a baby, Stephen just does what he wants.
10. Dirk Nowitzki
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Nowitzki is an incredible athlete and the majority of NBA fans were thrilled to see him win a well-deserved championship last season.
That said, Dirk is a whiner-extraordinaire.
Being a big baby is certainly not limited to the United States, as this German is one of the great whiners of all time. Maybe he takes after Mark Cuban, but it's rare to watch a Mavs game without seeing some serious complaining from Dirk.
Nowitzki whines so much, in fact, that it's not uncommon to witness Nowitzki skipping out on defensive plays while he's preoccupied with arguing an official's no-call.
Maybe Dirk thinks he's earned his stripes over the years, but he needs to accept the fact that every mid-range shot he makes does not always result in a three-point play.
9. Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard is a dual-threat on this list. Howard is not only a complainer on the court, but he's been keeping the Orlando Magic in limbo while he cries about whether he wants to be traded or not.
Worse, Magic GM Otis Smith has been doing just about everything in his power to appease Howard, but it is still not clear whether the center wants to stay with the organization that drafted him.
Howard isn't exactly a referee's dream either.
D-12 has trouble keeping his emotions in check during games and is regularly among the league leaders in technical fouls, including a whopping 18 last season.
At 7'0" and 270 pounds, Dwight brings a literal meaning to the term "Big Baby."
8. Allen Iverson
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One thing you'll notice about this list is that many of the biggest babies were also some of the greatest players in history.
Case in point: Allen Iverson.
Iverson was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the game at only 6'0" and 165 pounds. There will most likely never again be such an effective scorer in such a small frame, so it makes sense that AI might have had some complaints about getting banged up around the basket.
Even so, "The Answer" usually took his displeasure with the refs' calls a little too far, which once included throwing the ball at an official.
Iverson racked up an astounding 130 techs over his 14-year career, but it was also that unrelenting passion for the game that made him such a dominant offensive force.
7. Kobe Bryant
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Little known fact: Kobe Bryant has never committed a foul in his 15-year NBA career.
Wait, no that's just how highly the Black Mamba thinks of his defense.
Seriously though, have you ever watched a Lakers game and not witnessed Kobe running over to an official to argue a foul call? Yeah, me either.
With all the calls that go in Bryant's favor (for being one of the greatest to ever play), the guy sure does complain a lot.
So much so that this was the first season since the '00-'01 campaign in which Kobe avoided a double-digit technical foul total; he had nine.
With five championship rings over that time span, though, maybe players really should argue every call like Bryant.
6. Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett is about as fierce a competitor as there is in the game today, but with that type of attitude comes some repercussions, which include 144 technical fouls over his career.
Not only does KG do some questionable things to get an advantage over the competition (including a cheap shot to Channing Frye's undercarriage last season), but he flamboyantly argues calls against him.
Charisma gets you points on this list, and the soap-opera acting Garnett uses when he tries to convince the refs of his innocence is priceless.
It's a wonder Garnett has only committed three flagrant fouls over his career, but then again, ANYTHING IS POSSIBIIIIIIIILLLLLLLEEEE!!!! (sorry, I just love that quote).
5. Reggie Miller
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Miller was definitely a love-him-or-hate-him type of player. Opposing players mostly hated him. His fans loved him. John Starks once head-butted him. That's just the player Miller was.
He trash-talked opponents all game long, and was pretty darn good at it, too.
Reggie didn't limit his trash-talk to the opposition, either. If Miller disagreed with a call, you would see a look of horror come across his face comparable to that of a man who came home from work to see his house on fire.
Miller was arguably the best shooter in NBA history, but he was anything but a referee's dream.
With a total of 161 technical fouls and 12 ejections, Miller likely thought all NBA referees were high school dropouts, judging by his reactions to their calls.
4. LeBron James
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LeBron James makes this list for a multitude of reasons.
He disagrees with lots of calls, and mostly in over-the-top fashion.
Yet, it's not just his behavior towards officials that makes LeBron a world-class "bawl"er (see what I did there?)
First, LeBron ran off to Miami in the most disgraceful way anyone could fathom, by broadcasting his "Decision" on national television and shaming Cleveland fans everywhere.
Then there's the flop factor. There are plenty of floppers in the NBA, I know. At times, games have resembled UEFA league soccer matches the way players flail and flounder to the ground.
Yet at 6'9", 260 pounds, LeBron James is one of the biggest, most muscular specimens that exists in the league, and his flopping skills are disgraceful. He takes acting in sports to a new level as he screams in agony over injuries that don't exist.
Hopefully LeBron isn't remembered as just an athletic baby, as he still remains a king without a crown.
3. Metta World Peace
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Ron Artest can put the word "peace" in his name all he wants, but we all know what this guy will be remembered for the exact opposite. The elbow incident involving James Harden was just the latest controversy in World Peace's long line of offenses.
Surprisingly, World Peace has had only 66 technical fouls in his career, which is the lowest on the list, but that doesn't mean he isn't in desperate need of a pacifier.
With a complete inability to control his emotions, Metta has been on SportsCenter intros for over a decade, just for all the wrong reasons.
By far, the most childish moment of his career came when he was a member of the Pacers in a game against the Detroit Pistons on November 19, 2004. The two teams began brawling with one another, as teams sometimes do, but the situation escalated quickly and soon became completely out of hand.
Artest charged into the stands and began punching fans after being hit by a cup of beer. The 6'7", 260-pound Artest felt it necessary to fight a drunk fan in the stands during a nationally televised game.
If that doesn't make you a giant baby, then I simply do not know what does.
2. Rasheed Wallace
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Out of all the cry babies on this list, 'Sheed has to be my favorite of them all.
When it came to charisma and flamboyancy while arguing an official's call, nobody had Wallace beat.
I have to admit, I often looked forward to seeing Wallace in disagreement with a call—it was sort of a show within a show.
He'd grab the ball and guard it from the referees, take the ball and run to the other end of the court in disbelief of an official's judgement, and even threw the ball into the stands on several occasions.
'Sheed definitely had the baby act down to a "T."
The 17 technical fouls Wallace had in his final season seemed mild-mannered compared to the record-setting 41 he received during his '00-'01 season with the Trail Blazers—that's a tech every two games.
Well done, 'Sheed!
1. Dennis Rodman
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If you think Metta World Peace is a basket-case, you must not know about Dennis Rodman.
Though he was the greatest rebounder of all time at only 6'6", Rodman will almost always be remembered for the bad and the ugly more than the good.
Rodman didn't just limit his anguish with the refs to whirling basketballs across the stadium or screaming at refs, though. He also headbutted a ref during a game in 1996 while with the Bulls. Rodman then proceeded to tear off his jersey and knock over a cooler—a nice touch.
He didn't stop there, though. He was so upset during a 1997 game while still on the Bulls that he kicked a cameraman in the groin with all of his might after being tripped up.
If there were ever a more innocent and defenseless bystander during a game than the cameraman, it would have to be a baby, or maybe a cheerleader; either way, that's just cold.
You take the cake, Mr. Rodman.