NBA Power Rankings: The 25 Most Scandalous Moments in League History
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
To this day, Kobe Bryant's detractors still use allegations of rape in arguments over his basketball ability or accomplishments.
That's what scandals can do to professional athletes. No matter how irrelevant the scandal is to the player's game, he'll never be able to completely put it behind him.
Many of the scandals or incidents detailed in this list weren't the direct responsibility of the NBA, but damage to a player or former player's image is always tied to the league that gave him exposure.
25: Marv Albert
Marv Albert barely makes the list because a broadcaster's issues can't damage the league as much as a player's or coach's.
There's no decent way to say what Albert did. I'll just tell you that he eventually plead guilty to misdemeanor assault charges and issued a public apology to fellow announcers for things he did to a mistress.
24: Greg Oden
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
A little over a year ago, Greg Oden took nude photos of himself and sent them to his girlfriend. He earned the ensuing media firestorm and criticism.
I hope people learned a lesson when this all went down, what Oden did is always a terrible idea.
23: Gloria James
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
I have no reason to say anything disrespectful about anyone's mother. But LeBron's mom has put herself in the tabloids for at least two too many times.
When LeBron still played for Cleveland, there were rumors of an affair between Gloria James and Delonte West. More recently, she was arrested for allegedly assaulting a valet worker.
22: Tim Hardaway
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
In 2007, Hardaway said straight-up that he hates gay people.
"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."
David Stern banished Hardaway from the events that year's All-Star weekend and Hardaway eventually issued a public apology for a rant that includes a lot more than the above quote.
21: Pacers/Pistons Brawl
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
This event was so intense that it transcended being categorized as an on-court fight and became an issue the league had to deal with for months.
What started with a shove from Ben Wallace, escalated into a chaotic scene that had Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson fighting with fans in the stands, and several other players dishing out punishment all over the floor.
20: 2006 NBA Finals
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The Mavericks were up two games to zero and had the lead in the fourth quarter of game three of the 2006 NBA Finals. Then the referees took over.
Dwyane Wade averaged 18.3 free-throw attempts a game over the last four of the series, and did little to earn his trips to the line.
Not even Michael Jordan got the kind of calls Wade was getting. The series had many wondering if the fix was on.
19: Carmelo Anthony
This mugshot is for a DUI, but this doesn't represent Melo's only run-in with the law since he became an NBA employee.
He was also caught in an airport with marijuana.
18: Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
When the NBA instituted an age limit a few years ago, they inadvertently created a slew of problems for the NCAA.
In the past, a lot of talented players that couldn't get into a Division I program because of academics would simply go straight from high school to the NBA.
Now, programs like USC and coaches like John Calipari are pulling all kinds of strings that the NCAA doesn't want pulled.
In high school, Rose had someone take his SAT for him, and Mayo received improper benefits.
So why is this a problem for the NBA?
Many in the college ranks would like the league to change their rule, and scandals like this only serve to perpetuate the stereotype that NBA players generally have little or no character.
17: Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd was one of the most popular players in the league when he was arrested for domestic abuse in 2001.
He eventually plead guilty and was ordered to attend anger management.
16: Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman has had more than his fair share of problems (on the court and off of it, in the league and out of it).
In 1999 Rodman was arrested for assaulting his actress wife, Carmen Electra.
One month later he got a DWI and was eventually fined and placed on probation for driving drunk and without a valid license.
15: Connie Hawkins
This wouldn't have been that big of a deal if Connie Hawkins hadn't filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the league.
Hawkins played for the Globetrotters and in the ABA before the lawsuit helped him finally get past a ban prohibiting him from competing in the NBA.
Why was he banned? Point-shaving.
14: Charles Barkley
During his career and after it, Charles Barkley has been arrested several times.
This particular mugshot was the result of a bar fight in which Barkley through a fellow patron through a window. Barkley was playing for the Rockets at the time.
He plead guilty to charges of assault and resisting arrest.
13: Len Bias
The Boston Celtics took Len Bias with the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. He was loaded with talent and potential, and could have been a great addition to a team that already had Larry Bird.
Unfortunately, Bias died of a drug overdose the night after he was drafted.
As a result of his death, the NBA instituted a drug awareness program for young players.
12: Isiah Thomas
Nick Laham/Getty Images
As a coach and general manager, Isiah Thomas utterly destroyed the New York Knicks.
Around the office, he and a few other Knicks higher-ups were getting themselves in trouble for the way they treated female employees.
Thomas personally made several crude comments and unwanted advances at Anucha Browne Sanders who filed a lawsuit.
Knicks owners eventually had to pay Sanders $11.6 million after the jury sided with her.
11: Magic Johnson
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Magic Johnson telling the world he had AIDS wasn't necessarily a scandal, but it garnered a ton of attention from fans and the media.
Johnson has actually become one of the most recognizable faces of humanity's battle against this disease.
10: Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson has spent a good portion of his professional career as a walking public relations nightmare for the NBA.
He's had multiple run-ins with the law, most recently for cursing at police officers as his Lamborghini was being towed.
He was facing gun and assault charges when this mug shot photo was taken.
9: Tony Parker and Erin Barry
There have been plenty of NBA players who have cheated on their wives. What makes this one more significant is the girl who's being cheated on happens to be Eva Longoria.
On top of that, Tony Parker was reportedly messing with the wife of teammate Brent Barry. The two couples were supposedly pretty good friends at one time.
8: Michael Jordan
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The greatest player of all-time has been involved in his fair share of controversy.
From gambling problems to a Hall of Fame speech that made even the cockiest players cringe, Jordan has found himself in the news for plenty of things other than basketball.
7: Latrell Sprewell
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Anyone who has played a few years of organized basketball knows about coaches who try the "break you down to build you up" method of coaching.
I've had plenty. But I've never choked any of them for 15 to 20 seconds, and then returned to practice 20 minutes later to throw some punches.
6: Bison Dele
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
In July 2002, Dele went missing in the South Pacific Ocean. His brother was the only person on the boat who was seen again.
Authorities believe Dele's brother killed him, his girlfriend and the boat's captain, dumped them in the ocean, and then docked in Tahiti.
Dele's brother died of an intentional insulin overdose, essentially closing the case.
5: Jayson Williams
Al Bello/Getty Images
In 2002, Jayson Williams shot his driver Costas Christofi while entertaining several people in his New Jersey home.
He insisted it was an accident and eventually plead guilty to aggravated assault in 2010.
4: Gilbert's Guns
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
During an argument over a debt stemming from a game of cards, Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other the Washington Wizards locker room.
Having guns in the locker room would be bad enough, but Arenas insisted on making matters worse for himself by laughing and firing air pistols towards the rafters prior to the start of the Wizards' next game.
3: Calvin Murphy
Calvin Murphy played for the Houston Rockets and is in the NBA Hall of Fame. He hosted a radio show for ESPN, and was in the NBA's mentoring program.
That's the good stuff. The bad? He has 14 kids from nine women was accused (and eventually acquitted) of molesting five of his daughters.
Not a great ambassador for the game.
2: Kobe Bryant in Colorado
Robert Laberge/Getty Images
The case was dismissed the next year, but the damage to Kobe's reputation had already been done.
To this day, Kobe haters call him a rapist in conversations that having nothing to do with his off-the-court past.
1: Tim Donaghy
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tim Donaghy gambled on and attempted to fix NBA games while he was employed by the league as a referee.
Donaghy served 15 months in federal prisons and a halfway house for his offenses.
This is without a doubt, the worst NBA scandal to date.