5 NBA Stars Who Talked Themselves out of the League

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2013

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 26:  Basketball player Allen Iverson speaks during a news conference at the Thomas & Mack Center to announce the Las Vegas Superstar Challenge October 26, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The three-game tournament will take place at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 12 and 13, 2011, and will feature four teams made up of NBA players, former NBA players and rookies. Iverson will serve as a captain for one of the teams.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Allen Iverson has recently expressed interest in returning to the NBA, but he rebuffed an offer from the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks' D-League affiliate, stating that it's not the road he wishes to take back into the league.

While it may seem a bit picky for a guy to decline an offer to get back into professional basketball, that is the same route that Antoine Walker attempted, and he never sniffed an NBA court after playing for two years with the Idaho Stampede.

NBA personalities constantly ebb and flow between a state of constant consciousness and relative cluelessness, both of which can be a negative for a growing young star.

If a guy is too constantly aware of how the public perceives him, he's going to end up looking like he's trying too hard to seem like he's trying to please everybody possible.

On the other end of the spectrum are the guys who couldn't care less about their image, and while that gives off a more real, down-to-earth look at times, it's also an attitude that can get a player blacklisted and held out of the league for good.

There are a handful of examples of just that over the course of the past decade or so, but a few cases definitely stand out over the rest.


Jayson Williams

While Williams was not a star player at the time of his retirement, he was well on his way to becoming one of the league's most aggressive big men, averaging 13 points and 13 rebounds in his final two full seasons.

Williams broke his leg in 1999, effectively ending his career at its peak.

A few years later in 2002, Williams was accused and tried for the murder of his limousine driver. Eventually, in 2010, Williams was convicted of aggravated assault, serving eight months.

As recently as last April, Williams has talked about wanting to get back into the NBA, but with his reputation, and the fact that he's 44 years old, make it seem impossible that any kind of return would ever happen.


Gilbert Arenas

The fleeting second round pick had a meteoric rise once he was able to see some playing time, but he ended up falling just as quickly as he rose, thanks to some spotty injuries and an incident involving Javaris Crittenton.

Arenas spent the majority of the 2008 and 2009 seasons on the bench with a plethora of injuries, mostly centered around his knees. However a season-ending suspension in 2010 was what really killed his career.

In January 2011, Arenas and Crittenton pulled guns on each other after an argument over a gambling debt.

The league investigated, both players were charged, and eventually suspended for the remainder of the season.

Arenas rode out the rest of his career on the Orlando Magic bench and was given one last chance with the Memphis Grizzlies, but to little success.


Stephon Marbury

Some guys get blacklisted by the league for their illicit activities or bad attitude, but it's probably fair to say that a contributing factor to Marbury's departure from the NBA was due to general weirdness.

He was a generally surly player in his days in the league, but because of his sustained ability to score, the league put up with him, and he was able to continually find a job.

However, as his career wore on, he continued to be an ornery player, he was constantly traded, and just got weird in general.

Marbury threw a Starbury logo tattoo on his head, looked like a crazy person on the Boston Celtics' bench, and put out a video of him explaining the benefits of eating vaseline.

He was only 31 in his final season with the Celtics, but nobody was interested in signing the 15-year veteran with a lot more crazy left in his mind than he had good basketball in his body, so to China he went.


Allen Iverson

As long as he was going to be scoring 25 or 30 points in every single game he played in, few people were going to question Allen Iverson's antics.

He came into the league with an already poor reputation, having served four months in jail with the charge of maiming by mob before being granted clemency due to insufficient evidence.

Iverson was constantly abrasive in his time in the NBA, and he was in trouble often enough to warrant an entire page worth of documentation on his Wikipedia page.

Now it seems that Iverson has realized that he acted poorly throughout his career, recently taking to Twitter to admit his wrongdoing.

I realize my actions contributed to my early departure from the NBA, should God provide me another opportunity I will give it my all

— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) January 29, 2013


Latrell Sprewell

The trials and tribulations of Latrell Sprewell in his days in the NBA are heralded as a series of the most ridiculous events to drive a player out of the league that we've ever seen.

He was, by all rights, a terrific basketball player who was never in the right frame of mind.

Sprewell's early days were wrought with incidents involving his teammates, fighting Byron Houston in 1993 (who was huge, by the way), and Jerome Kersey in 1995. He left after his fight with Kersey and returned with a two-by-four, repeatedly threatening to bring a gun next time.

1997 was his most memorable year, in which he choked Golden State Warriors' head coach, P.J. Carlesimo.

Off and on court incidents piled up over the years, and teams got tired of it.

After a solid 2005 season in which he earned over $14 million, he turned down a $21 million, three-year deal from the Minnesota Timberwolves because he had "a family to feed."

He sat out the season waiting for teams to get desperate enough to pay him, but apparently no team was desperate enough. Spree never played again.


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