One of the wonderful things about the NBA is that the league is full of amazing personalities.
Whether it is the cross-dressing, Carmen Electra-dating, Kim Jong Un-befriending Dennis Rodman, the alien-abducted Baron Davis or the half-Superman, half-Samus Aran combination that is Dwight Howard, professional basketball produces some of the best characters on the planet (or, in Davis’ case, the universe).
So while Rodman hangs out with dictators, Davis chills with Marvin the Martian and Howard blasts Metroids and races speeding bullets, the Minnesota Timberwolves end up with a three guys that are just crazy.
Davis may be exploring the universe like Kid Cudi, but Michael Beasley is trying to outsmoke the Cleveland rapper. Latrell Sprewell had his own Project X in Milwaukee (yes, Milwaukee) and Stephon Marbury made his own reality show on Justin.tv.
There probably have been more than just three guys that went nutso in the 20 years of Timberwolves basketball, but Beasley, Sprewell and Marbury are Minnesota’s Big 3 when it comes to losing it.
Let’s start with Beasley.
It’s obvious why the Wolves brought him in: He’s talented. Drafted No. 2 behind Derrick Rose in 2008 after absolutely tearing it up at Kansas State, the Miami Heat had to move Beasley in order to make room for their Big 3 and Minnesota swooped in, hoping to get a starting small forward.
It’s not a bad plan, in theory, but the Wolves thought they were getting a basketball player and ended up with Bob Marley.
This guy burns through more grass than bad fertilizer.
The first two incidents are disputable. The room “smelled” like marijuana, the picture had bags that “looked” like they contained marijuana, but there was no weed in the room and the Twitter picture was fuzzy.
We all know the old adage, though: If it looks like marijuana and smells like marijuana, it’s probably marijuana.
We may never know why Beasley got kicked out of the rookie symposium or what was in the background of that picture, but the final instances were clearer than vaporizer smoke.
In July of 2011, Beasley was caught speeding in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka. The cops smelled pot, found some in his car, and gave him a ticket, prompting everybody in the Land of 10,000 Lakes to ask: Where do you get weed in Minnetonka?
If this was the first time marijuana and Michael Beasley were used in the same sentence, we’d all make a Dazed and Confused joke and move on, but this was starting to look like a problem.
Beasley may have crossed a line with his latest transgression.
It’s not that it’s any worse than his previous three incidents; it’s just that when you get another traffic violation in another suburb with another bag of weed, maybe it’s time to lay off the ganja.
Marbury hurts a little more just because the Timberwolves traded Ray Allen at the deadline to get him and probably let Tom Gugliotta go to keep him.
Starbury, as he was called, was supposed to join Kevin Garnett as the face of the franchise and lead Minnesota to an NBA championship.
Instead, Marbury forced his way out of the Twin Cities and became a journeyman.
His ultimate low came when he decided to live stream himself for hours on end.
I could go on about this, but words don’t really do it justice so I’ve included some highlights below:
There is something to be said about giving a person a second chance, and the Wolves certainly did when they traded for Sprewell, years removed from the infamous incident in which he choked his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, when a member of the Golden State Warriors.
Sprewell came via a multi-player deal with the New York Knicks. Though it appeared he had put the conflict with Carlesimo behind him, he did not necessarily redeem himself in Minneapolis and has continued to run into trouble long after his playing days.
While he will always be remembered for teaming up with K.G. and Sam Cassell on the Wolves team that went to the Western Conference Finals in 2004, his most famous moment may have been when he turned down a three-year, $21 million offer, telling reporters that he had a family to feed.
“Sprewell’s playing days ended abruptly,” wrote Thomas Beller in The New Yorker. “The cause was a self-inflicted wound.”
He has since foreclosed on two homes and had to auction off a yacht he once grounded.
If that isn’t enough, he was recently arrested for disorderly conduct at 4:15 am following a New Year’s party.
Embarrassing doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Don’t let three delinquents cloud the fact that the Timberwolves have employed plenty of classy players over the years. From Kevin Garnett to Ricky Rubio, the team’s history is full of character guys.
At the same time, there have been some men who went bonkers and, unfortunately, made some awful decisions.
As the Wolves enter an era of respectability under Rick Adelman, Flip Saunders and Co. hopefully there will be less of this madness off of the court and better quality basketball played on it.
Tom Schreier covers Minnesota sports for Bleacher Report and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports.