DeMarcus Cousins and the Top 10 Most Immature Players in the NBA
The NBA is filled with players who are known to be head cases.
For these players, large egos and immature behavior both on and off the court often get in the way of talent, and some of these guys are hated by the fans, coaches and, occasionally, even their teammates.
DeMarcus Cousins is a prime example of immaturity in the NBA today. After Cousins' most recent incident with Keith Smart where he was later suspended indefinitely by the Kings, it's become clear that his punk behavior and out-of-control ego could potentially affect his career in the long-term.
But it isn't just Cousins. Cousins has been in the league for just a few seasons, but there are other players already well into their 30s who behave in the same way. Some of those players are much better known for their personality than they are for their actual performance on the court.
Either way, here are 10 NBA players who should leave their old ways behind and grow up.
Where to begin with Andrew Bynum?
Bynum had just one year in all his seasons as a Laker in which he logged over 65 games, so her certainly won't be remembered as a great player. Instead, he spent most of his tenure with the Lakers acting as an immature, entitled child.
First, there was that dirty foul on J.J Barea in the 2011 playoffs that earned him a suspension. As if the play itself wasn't bad enough, Bynum ripped off his jersey before even exiting the court.
But it doesn't stop there. Bynum has been ejected multiple times for dirty fouls such as in this play on Michael Beasley. He's also been benched for taking three-pointers at the top of the key, and Bynum has even been caught parking in handicapped spots while shopping at a grocery store.
Bynum may only be 25, but he's been in the league for eight years. By now, I think it's obvious that he will never change his ways. Any team that offers him a max contract in free agency this summer should be aware that they're not only taking on a player with the knees of an 85-year-old, but that they're also getting one of the biggest head cases in the league.
To be fair, Javale McGee is not immature in the same way that a guy like Bynum is. He doesn't commit hard, dirty fouls. But at the same time, the only person holding McGee back from reaching his potential is McGee himself.
Watching JaVale play is extremely entertaining unless he's on your team. His frequent bone-headed plays will keep you consistently scratching your head, and his poor decision-making has earned him a spot on the bench in Denver until he can clean up his act.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, here is a video with McGee's eight most ridiculous plays.
Simply put, McGee has the potential to be a great player. He averages 20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per 36 minutes, and he's only 24. But if he really wants to be taken seriously, he has to stop making these poor decisions on the court.
In that time span, Robinson has pulled several immature stunts. It's true that he is a fantastic dunker, but that can lead to poor decision-making, such as in this play against the Pistons at the end of a game that resulted in a technical foul.
In a way, I suppose this type of behavior is somewhat expected. Robinson is one of the smallest players in the league, and those guys are often the ones who feel they need to be tough in order to compensate.
Still, Robinson's poor judgement may have had a negative impact on his career. Several years ago, Robinson averaged 17 points a game for the Knicks and looked like a very promising young player. But since then, he's taken a step back, and now he's lucky to find just 20 or 25 minutes of playing time in a game.
Without a doubt, Stephen Jackson is one of the most immature players due to his long history of bad incidences throughout his career.
Although the "Malice at the Palace" brawl in 2004 is most remembered as Ron Artest's moment in the spotlight, Jackson played a major role in beating a Pistons fan during the fight, and he received a 30-game suspension.
A couple years later, Jackson faced bad publicity again after he fired some shots with a handgun outside of a strip club in 2006. Of course, you could argue he did it in self defense because he was hit by a car, but the point is that Jackson has never maintained a great public image.
And of course, very recently, Jackson publicly attacked Serge Ibaka with comments he made on Twitter. It's pretty ironic that S-Jax used the Internet in order to call Ibaka a fake tough guy, but hey, that's just his personality. He was fined $25,000 by the league after the incident.
If there's anything his most recent outburst tells us, it's that at 34 years old, Jackson still has not grown up. Sure, he may not be jumping into the stands and punching fans like he did in his younger days, but that does not mean that his attitude has changed one bit.
Honestly, I'm not sure anyone really considered Howard a head case a few years ago. But the long and winding road he took the Magic on has made him seem like nothing less than an absolute diva.
Dwight could not make up his mind for a couple of seasons. He was clearly unhappy with Orlando, and it seemed as if he might be traded to a team like the Nets, but then Howard shocked everyone by deciding to not opt-out of his contract at the end of last season.
But then, Howard got Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy fired, and soon after, claimed that the Magic actually "blackmailed" him into staying with the team. Sure enough, he eventually completely whined his way out of Orlando, and now he's the star center of the Lakers.
I think we're all happy that the "Dwightmare" is over, but this peace may not last long. Howard is a free agent at the end of this season, and with the Lakers struggling early on, he may start this whole process all over again and end up signing with a new team for next season. Get ready, because it could be a very long roller-coaster ride.
Just like Robinson, Rondo is definitely one of those little tough guys. He might be one of the best point guards in the league, but he has to stop making awful decisions if he really wants to be an MVP candidate.
Take the Nets-Celtics brawl earlier from this season as an example. Humphires committed a foul on Garnett, but KG's fall to the floor did seem a little played out. And how did Rondo respond? He started a brawl by attacking Humphries and was ultimately ejected from the game.
Rondo just has to learn to control himself. He doesn't just express his anger at other NBA players, either. A couple years ago, Rondo threw a water bottle that shattered the video screen during a video session with the assistant coaches. He didn't handle the criticism well, and Rondo just lost control of his emotions, which cannot continue to happen.
Because of these boneheaded decisions, Rondo has been shopped in the past by the Celtics, and he's also been criticized by head coach Doc Rivers. Rondo has been in the league long enough now to realize when and when not to do something, and it's time for him to grow up.
Rasheed Wallace may be a four time NBA All-Star and and a champion, but he will always be known for his wild personality more than anything else.
Wallace is the NBA's all-time leader in technical fouls, with over 300. In addition, he set a single-season record in the 2000-2001 season with 41 technical fouls in 80 games.
More than anything, Wallace just needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. After all, it's hurt him so many times in the past. Wallace received a $25,000 fine in the 2008 playoffs after using profanity and criticizing the officials, and he was ejected earlier this season for his famous "Ball Din't Lie" catchphrase during a game against the Suns.
Another famous ejection was when Wallace was ejected by official Ron Garretson simply because he was staring and trying to "intimidate" him. That tells you something right there about just how famous Sheed was for his personality. No official would hesitate to give him a technical.
Even at 38 years old, Sheed is still continuing his old ways, and it's still hurting him. But you can't expect him to change, not now. He's a fan favorite in New York, and at this point, I think he's paid more to energize the crowd with his outbursts than he is to actually play basketball.
You will hear people call Kevin Garnett intense, passionate or emotional, but all those words are pretty much just synonyms for insane.
Look, Garnett will be in the Hall of Fame for sure. He will also go down as one of the best players of this era. And although he's known for his physical play, he is also hated by so many fans around the league for his dirty tricks.
Don't believe me? Just ask Channing Frye, who took a shot to the groin from Garnett while he was in mid-air for a shot attempt. Or you can talk to Marco Belinelli, who was victimized by one of KG's illegal screens. Or, talk to Bill Walker, who Garnett tried to choke in an incident against the Knicks a couple seasons ago after some trash talking occurred.
Even if you're a Celtics fan, you can't deny that Garnett has some cheap tricks up his sleeve. You can call it crazy, dirty, intense, passionate, whatever, but all of it is immature nonetheless, especially for a veteran like KG.
There's that incident with Keith Smart from a couple days ago, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg. Cousins has done a lot more than that in his young career.
Cousins doesn't always start the trouble, but he loses his temper easily. For example, Cousins was pushed by Luke Ridnour in a game last year that resulted in an ejection for Cousins after he lost his temper and began pushing other players.
Earlier this season, Cousins also hit Mayo in the groin, an event that followed with Mayo remarking after the game that Cousins has "mental issues."
Right now, I'm not sure you can really disagree with Mayo. Mental issues might be taking it too far, but he's definitely immature. And yet somehow, Cousins is "stunned" when people like Jerry Colangelo tell him he has to grow up.
Cousins has all the talent to be one of the best big men in the league for years to come. But he is holding himself back from taking the next step, and the last thing he should want is to be the next Andrew Bynum five years from now.
Metta World Peace
I'm sure this one doesn't come as a surprise, as World Peace might just be the inventor of crazy.
When did his recklessness begin? It's difficult to say, but I suppose it all started in 2001, when Artest jumped onto Glenn Robinson and earned a $7,500 fine and a suspension after the fight.
In 2002, Artest was fined $10,000 after shoving Raja Bell and not leaving the court in a timely manner after his ejection.
In 2003, he smashed television cameras at MSG after a loss to the Knicks, earning a $35,000 fine. He also received an $84,000 fine after a confrontation with Pat Riley in Miami, and he received fines for making obscene gestures to the crowd in Cleveland as well as suspensions for flagrant fouls on Bonzi Wells, Eric Snow and Paul Pierce.
In 2004, Artest was benched for a couple of games after asking the Pacers for some time off to finish his rap album. Also in 2004 was the famous "Malice at the Palace" incident, in which Artest attacked a fan who threw a cup at him and created chaos in Detroit. That incident was followed with a 73-game suspension.
In 2007, Artest's dogs spent 77 days at a pound due to poor care from Artest, and he also faced a domestic violence arrest for battery and corporal injury to a spouse among other things. He was suspended indefinitely by the Kings and ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from his wife and kids.
And of course, most recently, he is known for elbowing James Harden during the playoffs, an event that likely could have caused serious injury if everything hadn't turned out alright.
With year after year of carelessness and immaturity, he has become absolutely hated by almost every fanbase in the league. World Peace was at one time a great player, but he has sealed his fate. No matter how many charities he donates to or how many rap albums he releases, or even how many times he changes his name, World Peace can not change his public image.
If a guy like DeMarcus Cousins is smart, he sees what World Peace's NBA career has been like and knows not to behave in the same way.