The NBA is the undisputed leader among professional sporting leagues in unnecessary/buzz-kill rule making.
That’s quite an accomplishment when you consider the wet blanket the NFL has thrown over touchdown celebrations and the players’ use of Twitter.
Between the dress code policy and the new “respect for the game” rule which not only permits, but encourages, referees to penalize players who express any displeasure with their calls, NBA officials have proven that its not afraid to go above and beyond the bounds of necessity to exert their control.
However, there are a few players that make their latest rule change somewhat justified. There are few things the NBA has been critiqued for more than whining players.
Passion for the game creates intensity and is the singular greatest asset of any sport; however, whiners take that passion and soil it. They actually take away from the intensity of the game and present more of a bickering atmosphere than a competitive one.
Here are the 15 biggest culprits in the NBA.
This is to acknowledge the names that won’t be making an appearance on the list.
A) Kobe Bryant - There’s a difference between whining and complaining. Whining is almost incessant and usually inaccurate.
Complaining is carried out in a more dignified manner and is sometimes necessary; as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
That’s not Webster’s definition, fine, but hey, this is my list, and if you don’t like it, make your own.
Bryant is assaulted as often as Captain Kirk in the latest Star Trek movie, but does not get the calls nearly as often as he should.
He no longer fits the mold of a LeBron James/Dwyane Wade type of player who attacks the rim with reckless abandon, and because of that, refs are less likely to call his fouls.
Bryant has proven time and again that the only thing that can alter his jumpshot is his, at times, poor shot selection.
Bryant has hit every kind of jumper imaginable, ones falling onto his backside, ones with multiple defenders, ones with hands literally right in front of his face, and because of that, refs often allow defenders extra liberties in defending Bryant.
So if you’re going to send in hate mail over Bryant’s absence from the list, then get your pens ready, because he won’t be making an appearance.
B) Rasheed Wallace - Although Wallace is no longer playing, it would feel criminal to make a list of whiners in the NBA without including his name somewhere. If the rumors about him coming out of retirement hold any truth, then he will take his rightful place among the top of the list.
C) Tim Duncan - As tempting as it was to put him on the list, I just can’t. He doesn’t really complain; its just that every time he’s called for a foul, his facial expression says “Who, me?”. With that benevolent looking face, who could really hate on the guy?
D) The Utah Jazz - As much as I would like to include the entire Jazz team and franchise on the list, they are not eligible, which is too bad. The refereeing they get in Salt Lake is nothing short of extremely favorable.
No two incidents stand out more than the infamous 1994 clock incident (ask a Rocket fan) or the blatant no-call as Wesley Matthews tackled Derek Fisher as he attempted to catch an inbounds pass during a critical stretch with four seconds left in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals and the Lakers clinging to a one point lead.
However, when they don’t get the outrageous referee assistance their franchise is built upon, they whine to such an extent that one can understand where the name Salt Lake stems from, tears.
Unfortunately, they are almost never without some degree of assistance, and so their whining is generally kept to a minimum.
Now let's begin.
I think I just tripled the amount of hate mail I’m going to get for this piece.
“Not only is Kobe not ranked, but you have LeBron as low as 15? What’s going on here?!”
Well, the only reason James is making an appearance on this list at all is because he dishes out the fouls almost as often as he receives them; he’s just rarely on the wrong end of the call.
Don’t get me wrong, James usually has a point when he expresses disgust or anguish when his fouls are not called. He’s so big, so fast that often, the only means of slowing him down is fouling him.
The problem is that if officials called every single bump against James, the game would never end and would lose all continuity.
Can you imagine the NBA trying to promote a LeBron James game then?
I can hear it now: “See LeBron as you’ve never seen him before, practicing free throws” or “Watch tonight as LeBron James aims for the NBA record of most time spent at the foul line.”
On one hand, its almost unfair that James doesn’t get all the calls he earns, but when you consider that he isn’t called for all his transgressions, it balances out.
When LeBron James gets a full head of steam in the open floor, there are few things in the NBA, or on all of earth for that matter, that can deter him from slamming the ball through the rim with the force of a cannon.
It's good entertainment, it makes would-be defenders look frail and silly and it boosts ratings.
It's probably for that reason that he is rarely called for an offensive foul.
And James knows it.
That’s why he doesn’t bother trying to go around defenders; he’s made a living going through him.
However, in doing so, he’s guilty of charging far more often than NBA officiating would have you believe. In the rare event that he’s actually called for it, he protests to the heavens, in clear violation of the NBA’s “respect for the game” rule.
But being the NBA’s favorite son, he’s rarely called for that either. Interesting stat: James has only been called for three technical fouls all season.
It must be sweet to be the king.
This one is pretty cut and clean.
Allow me to quote TNT announcers Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello.
One night, Stockton asked “Have you ever seen Josh Smith not complain about when he gets called for a foul?”
Fratello answered “His next foul will be the first he’s ever committed.”
Josh Smith is among the better athletes in the game and is a very good defender, despite being somewhat undersized, his 1.8 blocks per game place him among the top five shot blocking power forwards in the game.
With that said, his whining takes away from some of his entertainment value.
Glen Davis is a bit of an abnormality.
He’s as big and bulky as any power forward in the game, he isn’t afraid of contact, he doesn’t like it when the opposition gets louder than he is and he isn’t afraid to let them know.
Unlike many players who act like tough guys, Glen actually fits mold of someone willing to back it up.
However, with all of that bulk and all of that attitude, you’d think that Davis would be less inclined to complain to the refs, but you’d be wrong.
He’s not nearly as bad as a lot of the guys on this list, but when he isn’t getting the calls, you quickly learn why the call him “Big Baby”.
Well, everyone hates Chris, so I'l be surprised if I don't have a little bit of blow back from having him this low.
We won’t bother mentioning Bosh’s complaint against Omar Asik. Let’s see you injure your knee on a hustle play and not have any negative feelings about it.
Anyway, the on court complaining Bosh is somewhat known for doesn’t help his image much, not when the majority of the world has already determined that Bosh is “soft”.
On one hand the world is right, Bosh does have some soft tendencies, but I think the fault lies with the way Bosh complains instead of his complaining.
Say what you will about Kevin Garnett, but he doesn’t play a lot of games. If he feels the opposition is getting too rough with him, he responds accordingly.
(Though if the guy Garnett responds to is his size or bigger, Garnett often draws things out so that the spat can be broken up and he walks away looking tough, but that’s another story.)
If Garnett can at least respond in a way that fires up his own teammates and gets into the head of his opponents, there is little excuse for Bosh.
Garnett is no physical slouch, but he isn’t Karl Malone either. The physique between Garnett and Bosh is near-identical.
Simply put, Bosh should not be afraid to get in a guy’s face.
I started to leave this slide at “See Chris Bosh”, but that really wouldn’t do justice to Gasol.
While Bosh has yet to establish a body of work he can rely on to disprove his reputation as “soft”, Gasol did a phenomenal job in limiting the offensive damage of Dwight Howard in the 2009 Finals.
Not only was Gasol's defense against Howard absolutely stellar, preventing Howard from throwing down his patented power dunks for much of the Finals, Gasol also maintained his own offensive production, proving that he is capable of playing as rough and rugged as any player in the game today.
Simply put, Gasol has really become a different player over the last few years and has grown much more comfortable in the paint and in securing rebounds against players of his length and greater size.
With that said, Gasol has yet to develop true consistency as a banger. He is not, nor will he ever be, a true center, but he often allows himself to become invisible against physical defenders.
He then complains to the refs during the game and/or complains that he isn’t getting enough touches after the game. Gasol would be better served by gaining more consistency in his interior aggressiveness and letting the calls fall where they may.
That isn’t a formula every player in the league can rely on.
I’m convinced that referees have wet dreams about calling technical fouls on Ron Artest; as stated earlier, Bryant doesn’t get the calls he should, and though Chauncey Billups is tied for sixth in the league for most technical fouls (seven), most of his complaints are legitimate and on the behalf of his teammates.
But Gasol has no excuse. He’s not on any ref’s hitlist.
He just needs to become a bit more consistent.
Being a Spur almost automatically makes you less visible. Hell, if Dennis Rodman went back to the Spurs today, he’d be less visible.
What is he going to, dye his hair black and grey? Please, that would be normal for him.
Ginobili benefits from the Spurs’ relatively low profile, and as a result, isn’t called for all of his fouls and isn’t paid as much attention to when he complains about being called for fouls.
If he tried to pull that from L.A. or Miami, he’d probably suffer at least one suspension before the first half of the season was over.
Ginobili is a very good perimeter defender because of his underrated strength, but part of being a good defender is being called for fouls. It seems as though that just doesn’t sit right with Ginobili, though.
They say that you shouldn’t kick a man when he’s down.
Varejao won't even play for the rest of the season, his team is making a strong push for the worst turn around season of all time (down from 61 wins last year, of which LeBron James rested for the final four, currently on pace for about 16 this year), and James is laughing at the karma.
Unfortunately, none of that changes that Varejao is among the biggest crybabies in the NBA when he’s playing.
His highly overrated defense consists mostly of sheer hustle and flopping, none of which enables him to slow a top-tier big man.
When his flopping isn’t called, then the Justin Guarini look alike throws, diva-like hissy fits.
It seems as though Varejao was buying into all of the hype he received as a byproduct of playing alongside James, because he plays as though he considers himself to be an enforcer.
The problem is that enforcers are actually tough, and they play like it on both ends of the floor.
Varejao, on the other hand, is a bonafide whiner, who excels only in failing to draw charges and leading the league in time spent on the ground.
Howard isn’t like the other guys on this list.
His whining is practically 100 percent legit.
For all intents and purposes, he’s the new Shaq, and most teams have simply given up trying to defend a guy who boasts more raw power than their entire starting lineup.
When Howard is fouled, he’s fouled hard. He has to be.
Ticky tack fouls on Dwight Howard are worse than technical fouls because you’re giving him his two points and an opportunity at the foul line.
Teams have wised up to that, and because of that, Howard takes more punishment than any other man in the NBA, Donald Sterling included.
Howard’s fault is not in the complaining itself, however.
As Stan Van Gundy has said, refs not only allow defenders to get away with fouls on Howard, the refs typically look for Howard’s reaction and hit him with technicals at every given opportunity.
Don't get mad, get even. Why get mad and give the other team a free charity stripe visit?
If I could give Howard one piece of advice, it would be this: when people are fouling you excessively, send a message.
Now look, Howard is wayyyy too big to just cut loose on the court and take out the full brunt of his frustration on any one guy.
I’m not advocating that Howard send guys out of Amway on a stretcher, but sometimes, it's necessary to remind folks that basketball is a grown man's game.
Every now and then, you need to put a guy on his behind so he knows that he can’t go touching and clipping away at you anyway he feels like.
I’m convinced that certain franchises deliberately sign players who fit in with the perceptions of their organization.
The Dallas Cowboys love pretty boy quarterbacks who make women melt with polarizing smiles.
The Lakers always seem to wind up with iconic guards that wind up defining entire eras.
The New York Giants love bringing in actual giants, people who are much bigger and taller than the average players of their positions.
The Celtics love blue collar star level players.
The Jazz love any and everyone willing to flop.
As for the Mavericks, well, if your mouth is bigger than your game, than you can probably find employment somewhere in their organization.
Jason Terry fits right in with that. He isn’t a big enough star to get a lot of media time, but when given the opportunity, he runs his mouth as often as any ring-less C level talent in the NBA.
He’s a little less obvious than many of the other players listed here in terms of his on-court complaining, but if you watch him closely enough during the course of a game, you’ll see flailing arms, pitiful looks and just about every other form of pouting known to man when calls are made against his ball club.
Williams is a whiner, to be sure, but isn’t like the other whiners on the list because he does the majority of his whining off the court.
When Williams first arrived to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2008 offseason, they began to rattle off the victories, eventually finishing with 66 wins, a Cavalier record, but somewhere along the way, Williams got the wrong idea.
He believed that he was the missing piece that put the team over the top.
In actuality, LeBron James had just taken his game up yet another notch.
Many of the fans seemed to notice that James was the biggest and only real culprit behind the Cavaliers' success and Williams was left out of the 2009 All-Star Game.
When asked about how he felt about being left out, Williams said “It’s a tragedy. How many players get into the game, and how many players did the Magic get in? They’ve got three players, and we’ve got the best record. Not just in the Eastern Conference, but in the whole league…Best team in the world, and we got one player.”
Arrogance at its finest.
Though Williams did in fact make an appearance at the All-Star game (due to the spot Chris Bosh left open as suffered a knee injury), he proved why he never deserved to be on the All-Star roster to begin with in both the 2009 and 2010 playoffs.
He was simply invisible throughout the majority of both post-seasons and was highly inaccurate from the floor, posting shooting averages of .408 percent in 2009 and .409 percent in 2010.
The so called “best team in the world” didn’t even appear in the Finals in either ‘09 or ‘10, and worse, with their play this season, they have left no doubt as to why LeBron James was the only original all-star selection from Cleveland.
It's easy to feel sorry for Williams now, but those of us with longer memories will remember his haughty ways during Cleveland’s better days.
The cherry on top of all this is that heading into the season Williams admitted to pondering retirement after LeBron’s “Decision”.
Whining is bad enough, but to even think about quitting altogether is just… sad.
Stoudemire has never been a fan of physical, defensively intense basketball.
Part of the reason is that he has little to offer defensively, despite the fact that he has shown slight improvement in that area since leaving Phoenix.
Though their sizes are similar, Stoudemire isn’t like Pau Gasol or Chris Bosh.
He’s far more consistent offensively, more aggressive in looking for his shot, far more athletic and far more physical in his approach to scoring.
One way or the other, Stoudemire will get his, whether he has to go around, over or through you to get it.
However, Stoudemire is neither a champion, nor a legend.
The things that set Gasol and arguably Bosh over Stoudemire is their commitment to defense and to rebounding, things that have alluded Stoudemire over the course of his career.
As a result of these unpolished aspects in Stoudemire’s game, he often finds himself coming up small in big games.
In these big games, Stoudemire is nothing short of a Grade A whiner.
You think you’re going to call a foul on Stoudemire for reaching over the back as he tries to grab on offensive rebound or for reaching on defense without getting a piece of his mind?
Of all the players on this list, Stoudemire is the only one who actually does the majority of his whining on the defensive end of the floor.
He gets his calls on offense and is eighth in the league in average free throws attempted (8.2).
Don’t get it twisted; Stoudemire complains on the offensive end too, but as I said, he whines most often when he gets beat to a rebound or called for a foul.
There was no getting around listing Anthony at some point.
Even if you don’t count his LeBron-got-to-play-with-his-friends-so-why-can’t-I approach to the future of his career, the man is a born whiner.
He’s unquestionably a great talent, but becomes clearly frustrated when dealing with good, tight physical defense and often looks to the refs to bail him out when he struggles.
Unfortunately for Anthony, superstar calls are largely dependant on one’s ability to perform like a superstar.
Anthony simply doesn’t show a superstar work ethic on the court. He isn’t aggressive in looking for his shot and often looks disengaged.
His overall performance this season hasn’t been poor, but it hasn't been consistent, either.
No one is asking Anthony to pull LeBron James-like stat lines, but a player of Anthony’s size and strength shouldn’t be as reliant on his jumpshot. He struggles with his field goal percentage as a result and is on pace for his lowest percentage since his second season in the NBA.
Watching Anthony today simply doesn’t give you the sense that he’s putting forth maximum effort.
One really has to wonder whether Anthony would be nearly as detached from the Nuggets were it not for the South Beach super team.
Regardless in both the decisions he makes on the court, and in the decision he’s presumably made off of it, Anthony is a whiner.
Simply put, someone needs to acquaint Baron Davis with the hardwood and they need to do it yesterday.
This guy goes around picking fights on almost a nightly basis, particularly when the Clippers are being blown out of the water, and as we all know, that’s not exactly an uncommon occurrence.
If you don’t want to wind up in a double technical situation, you had better hope you don’t wind up defending Davis when the Clips are getting stomped.
Any semblance of contact will have him in an uproar, and when he’s done protesting to the refs, he’ll jump into your face and act like the L.A.’s biggest bad boy. He never actually does anything, but you know what they say, the weakest dogs bark the loudest.
Davis has spent much of his career underachieving and has yet to win anything of significance, but still finds a way to carry himself like an NBA legend.
Enough is enough.
If he wants anyone to take him seriously, maybe he needs to ditch the homeless look and focus on playing like a champion instead of just acting like one.
Pierce has been called many things, an actress, a faker, arrogant, an actress, obnoxious, an actress and overrated. And an actress.
Well, if the shoe fits…
When Pierce isn’t acting as though he’s been shot, mauled or hit by a Dodge Ram during the course of a game, he’s complaining to refs or scrunching his face as he looks around at the crowd for sympathy.
Though Pierce has proven to be a very good player and a legit go-to scorer, capable of both knocking down the outside shot and getting gritty points inside, he’s every bit as likely to whine the opposition to death as he is to actually help his team overcome them.
Perhaps the most bothersome thing about Pierce’s whining is that he isn’t like LeBron James.
He isn’t some unstoppable scoring machine who has to tolerate being whacked to death on a nightly basis.
He gets virtually every single call he earns, for better or worse.
Maybe Megan Fox needs to take her talents to Boston. As hot as she is, and she’s hotter than a Eskimo in Texas, she could step up her acting a bit.
Under Pierce’s tutelage, there wouldn’t be enough room in any mansion in North America for all the Oscars she would be racking up.
It’s a shame when you have to list an owner as the biggest whiner in the NBA, but not putting Cuban at the top of this list would have been like not putting Tracy Morgan on a list of most overrated actors.
You can find Cuban yelling at refs so frequently that you have to wonder if he and Rasheed Wallace are long lost soulmates.
He whined when he didn’t get LeBron James and even publicly petitioned David Stern to make “more definitive rules” to prevent free agents from coordinating their destination, or as Cuban called it, “re-evaluating the issue of player tampering”.
My guess is that if James and Dwyane Wade had picked Dallas as their destination, Cuban would not have been quite as verbal.
Its one thing to be a verbal, active owner. I think Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones fits that bill.
But Jones carries himself like a business man.
He doesn’t sit in the stands and yell at refs, he didn’t complain when Randy Moss went to the Patriots.
He doesn’t go around talking trash about the Cowboys’ rivals and he doesn’t come off as some rich, immature, seventeen-year-old-in-a-grown-man's-body.
Jones actually respects his opponents, particularly the ones that have beaten his team.
I think Cuban could stand to learn more than few lessons from Jones, particularly considering that whining is even less respectable when you've won nothing.
Cuban can talk as much trash as he’d like against the Spurs or Lakers, but the fact of the matter is that his Mavericks have not fared well against either and that one or the other has represented the Western Conference in the Finals every year of the 2000’s except 2006.
But Cuban would rather not talk about what happened that year.