Bad Boys of Basketball: The All-NBA Criminal Team
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Al Gore may not have produced a film on the subject, but the correlation between professional basketball players and crime is certainly an inconvenient truth.
The prevalence of crime in the NBA has been an ongoing problem for David Stern and company, especially for the past decade or so. Fact is, the lifestyle of the NBA—especially that of the younger crowd—breeds a culture of risky behavior.
Celebrities in a vast array of fields often entertain the thought that they are above the rules of society, and thus don't have to subscribe to normative conduct. NBA players are no exception.
In fact, they are arguably the rule.
There has been much research on the ostensible link between the NBA and crime. In 2004, author and investigative journalist Jeff Benedict conducted a thorough inquiry on the matter, culminating in a book entitled "Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime." The work gained considerable recognition and was the focus of an ABC "20/20" primetime special.
This slide show will look at the best of the bad boys, culminating in the "All-NBA Criminal Team." While these players are in large part laughable role models, they certainly get the job done on the floor.
*All Players are active.
**This squad boasts a four-guard starting lineup. The added speed may come in handy when running away from police.
Coach: Isiah Thomas
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As Thomas is one of the original "Bad Boys," it is only fitting that he makes this list.
If things weren't bad enough for Thomas on the hardwood, the estranged New York Knicks front man also had some pretty hefty struggles off the court. In 2006, former employee Anucha Browne Sanders sued Thomas and Madison Square Garden for sexual harassment and retaliation. According to Sanders, Thomas had made "demeaning" statements to her, which were supplemented by alleged unwanted sexual advances.
The court ruled heavily in Sanders' favor, ordering Madison Square Garden to pay Sanders $11.6 million, one of the largest sexual harassment fines in history.
Backup Guard: Lance Stephenson
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Lance Stephenson has yet to see the NBA court. Unfortunately for the former Bearcat, he'll likely be seeing a rather different kind of court quite soon.
A month ago, the Pacers rookie was arrested for third-degree assault, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon after allegedly pushing his girlfriend down a flight of stairs. Reports indicate that Stephenson then went down after her, smashing her head on the bottom step. The incident allegedly stemmed from Stephenson's girlfriend not answering her phone. This investigation is ongoing.
Stephenson, an extremely talented basketball player, holds the New York State High School record for most career points scored. Although he consistently got the job done on the floor, the Lincoln High School alumnus did not necessarily score any points with law enforcement, even in those days.
In 2008, Stephenson was arrested for groping a 17-year-old girl on school grounds, and was charged with third-degree sexual assault.
Backup Guard/Forward: Jason Richardson
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A two-time winner of the NBA's slam dunk contest, Richardson is certainly a high-flyer.
Someone forgot to tell J-Rich that his high-flying tendencies are for the basketball court only.
In February 2009, Richardson was arrested and eventually charged with reckless driving, extreme speeding, and endangerment, all after being caught driving 90 mph in a 35-mph zone in Scottsdale, Ariz.
If that weren't bad enough, Richardson had his 3-year-old son in the passenger seat without a child safety seat. The investigation in this case is ongoing, but Richardson was suspended one game without pay by Phoenix for conduct detrimental to the team.
Richardson also brings some added criminal experience to this team, as he was arrested in 2003 for domestic violence after shoving his ex-girlfriend into a wall, resulting in a three-game suspension by the NBA and a one-year probation sentence.
To round out his resume, the former Spartan was cited for DUI in December 2008. The case is still pending, but Richardson was suspended two games for that incident.
Clearly J-Rich is a perfect fit for this team, as the diversity of his criminal record provides some expertise in all aspects of the law.
Backup Guard: Rafer Alston
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"Skip to my Lou" has been tethered down by handcuffs numerous times.
In 1997, he was charged with and convicted of misdemeanor assault after attacking his girlfriend and two of his neighbors. He pleaded no contest, and was sentenced to 12 months probation and anger management lessons.
Alston was then jailed twice for not completing the anger management class and violating probation.
A decade later, Alston was charged with misdemeanor assault and public intoxication. About two weeks after that incident, he was indicted on felony assault charges after allegedly stabbing someone in the neck. The charges were later dropped.
Backup Forward: Michael Beasley
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Beasley's got the look down. He's also got quite the track record
The former Kansas State star is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law. Beasley's troubles date back to his teenage years, as expulsions and other disciplinary issues constantly forced him from one high school to the next.
After multiple slaps on the wrist, the real trouble began once Beasley made the leap to the pros. On Sept. 3, 2008, Beasley was involved in a now-infamous event that occurred during the NBA Rookie Transition Program.
The incident stemmed from ex-Jayhawks Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur refusing to leave their hotel room after a fire alarm. The police entered the room, claiming it smelled strongly of burning marijuana. Two women were also in the room.
Beasley was not present when police arrived, but ESPN originally reported that Beasley played a role in the incident. The former Wildcat initially denied any involvement, was allowed to stay at camp, and cooperated fully with the NBA investigation.
A few weeks later, however, Pat Riley forced Beasley to admit that he fled the scene once the police arrived. He was fined $50,000 by the NBA.
In August 2009, Beasley reportedly checked himself into a Houston rehab center. This news came just days after he posted some questionable pictures on his Twitter account.
The photos, which prominently displayed Beasley's newest tattoo, also contained what many have speculated to be a bag of marijuana in the background.
Beasley has stayed out of trouble since. Hopefully, his new stint in Minnesota can help Kansas State's wayward son get his career back on track.
Backup Center: Zach Randolph
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Throughout his 10-year NBA career, Randolph has always been tacked as a guy with a ton of potential. Unfortunately, despite career averages of 17.1 ppg, and 8.8 rpg, big Zach has consistently found a way to remove himself from any sort of role-model status, as his criminal record is lengthier than Chris Kaman's former hairstyle.
High School: Did two separate 15-days stints in a juvenile detention center for possession of stolen property, including a gun that he eventually sold. Served 30 days of house arrest following a battery charge.
May 2002: Arrested for underage drinking. Randolph was 20 years and 329 days old at the time. Clearly, Randolph a rebel without a cause.
April 2003: Punched Ruben Patterson in the face, causing "the Kobe stopper" to lose a large amount of blood. Was suspended for his involvement in the altercation.
December 2003: Arrested for driving without a license while also under the influence of marijuana.
December 2006: Two vehicles, both registered under his name, were pulled over by Portland Police for racing in a 20-mph speed zone. Simply baffling.
December 2007: Sued for sexual assault after an incident with a stripper, although Randolph was not prosecuted due to lack of evidence.
April 2009: Arrested for driving under the influence. Was initially denied bail. Charge was eventually dropped to one count of reckless driving.
May 2010: Randolph's friend was pulled over while driving a marijuana-filled car that was registered under Randolph's name. He was not in the car at the time and was thus not arrested, but police pulled the car over after receiving a tip that Randolph was involved in a drug ring. The investigation is ongoing.
Starting Center: Chris Andersen
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Here's a guy I wouldn't want to come across in a dark alley.
In terms of criminal behavior, the Birdman's looks enable him to both talk the talk and walk the walk. As he looks more like a gang leader than a basketball player, Andersen's legal troubles shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to the casual observer.
In 2006, the Birdman was suspended by the NBA and FIBA for two years for failing a drug test, during which he was cited for taking a "drug of abuse." In other words, he took something that wasn't marijuana or aspirin.
Under the the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, a drug of abuse is defined as a methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, PCP, or an opiate (heroine, codeine, morphine). Under the agreement, such a violation is grounds for permanent expulsion from the league.
Andersen was initially denied reinstatement after appealing in 2006, but was granted eligibility in 2008 following his two-year sentence.
It seems that the Birdman has since mollified his wild ways off the court, giving way to some freakish play on the hardwood. After all, the man is, in every sense of the word, hardcore.
Starting Guard/Forward: Stephen Jackson
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On the court, Stephen Jackson is one ferocious dude.
Off the court, Stephen Jackson is one ferocious dude.
We're all well aware of his involvement in the infamous 2004 Pacers/Pistons brawl, during which Jackson kicked off his personal brawling festivities by trying to fight Elden Campbell. He followed that act by joining teammate Ron Artest in the stands, swinging at random spectators before being subdued. Jackson was suspended for 30 games for his role in the incident, and was sentenced to a year's probation and 60 hours of community service.
In October 2006, Jackson was charged with two felony counts of criminal recklessness as well as two misdemeanor charges of battery and disorderly conduct, all stemming from an incident at a strip club. During a brawl, Jackson fired a gun at least five times in the air. He also reportedly kicked a man with a deformed arm during the altercation, and was hit by a car. He was still on probation from the 2004 fight at the time.
The plea lessened his felonies to misdemeanors. He was fined $5,000 dollars, sentenced to 100 hours of community service, and suspended for seven games by the NBA.
Jackson has kept his nose clean since, and his game has improved dramatically. Hopefully, his criminal ways are behind him as he is an integral component to a young, up-and-coming Bobcats squad.
Starting Guard: Delonte West
If criminal records could be defined in terms of music, West would be one of the most successful one-hit wonders of all time.
Sept. 17, 2009, was a day to forget for Delonte West. The police inquiry started out innocently enough: riding a three-wheel motorcycle, West was pulled over for making an unsafe lane change. For the purposes of this list, such an offense is more charming than a Shirley Temple.
Then it got wild.
West was found in possession of a bowie knife, two handguns, and a shotgun with 116 shells. For all you mathematicians out there, those are more weapons than wheels on his motorcycle.
The weapons were all found in a guitar case. The Celtics guard, clearly a modern reincarnation of Al Capone, will need to come up with a new strategy if he is to continue his weapon-wielding ways.
West was arrested and charged with six counts: four for the weapons (one for each), and one count each of negligent driving and reckless driving. He pleaded guilty for both possession of the knife and transporting an illegal handgun.
As for the repercussions, West was sentenced to eight months home detention, two months probation, 40 hours of community service, and suspended 10 games by the NBA.
Starting Guard/Forward: Ron Artest
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A vintage bad boy, Artest is no stranger to suspensions, violations, and legal issues.
Labeled the prime culprit for the madness that ensued at the 2004 Pacers/Pistons brawl, Artest was suspended without pay for the rest of the season (73 games) and playoffs, the longest suspension for an on-court incident in league history. The St. John's alum lost about $7 million in salary due to his actions.
Throughout the years, Artest has consistently allowed his hot temper to get the best of him. In 2002, he grabbed the mother of his child around the throat, resulting in an aggravated harassment charge. Ron-Ron was sentenced to stress management classes.
In 2003, Artest threw a TV monitor at a cameraman filming him, and subsequently grabbed his $100,000 camera, smashing it to the floor. He was ordered to pay for a new one.
In the most ridiculous incident of them all, in February 2007, authorities took Artest's dog away after neighbors reported that it was starving to death. No charges were brought up on Artest.
The very next month, Artest was arrested on charges of false imprisonment, battery, corporal injury, and using violence to prevent his victim from reporting a crime. All the charges stemmed from a domestic violence incident. He pleaded no contest to corporal abuse, was sentenced to 100 hours community service, and put on three years probation. He was also ordered to attend a year-long parenting class on the effects of domestic violence on young children, as well as a year-long violence treatment program.
Starting Guard: Gilbert Arenas
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Unfortunately for Arenas, the zero in his nickname does not pertain to the number of criminal charges he has attained.
As we all know, Agent Zero has an affinity for guns. His troubles with weapons, however, started well before last year's incident. In 2003, he was arrested for driving without a license and carrying a concealed weapon.
In 2006, he was arrested for disorderly conduct after interfering with the arrest of teammate Awvee Storey, who was being handcuffed for blocking traffic. Arenas reportedly had a spat with the police, allegedly saying, "You can't arrest me. I'm a basketball player."
In the granddaddy incident of them all, Arenas admitted to bringing four guns into the Wizards arena, violating about 4,000 NBA rules in the process. He was suspended for the rest of the season by the NBA and ordered to spend 30 days in a halfway house, two days of which were in jail.
What happened between Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton in the locker room is still unclear, although it is widely believed that the alleged "standoff" was more or less a joke.