15 Biggest Confrontations in NBA History

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2011

15 Biggest Confrontations in NBA History

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    We're only a month into this lockout, but it is rapidly becoming one of the worst confrontations in league history.

    There are scores of players throughout the NBA with hot tempers and quick triggers.  There are also plenty of coaches, executives and referees who aren't immune to confrontation.  

    During the last few decades, we've seen some pretty wild shoving matches, fights and even all-out brawls go down on NBA floors.  We've also seen wars of words off the floor.

    Here are the 15 biggest confrontations in league history...

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15: Larry Bird and Julius Erving

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    Larry Legend and Dr. J are two of the greatest players of all time, and they had a pretty good rivalry with each other.

    The clip from this fight sure doesn't look good for either guy.  For Bird, it can't be fun to be held by multiple players while another guy punches you.  For Erving, it's a punk move to be throwing those punches.

    The Fight

14: Shaq and Chuck

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    It's hard to say who officially started this one, but Barkley tossing the ball at Shaq's face certainly elevated the shoving match into a fight.

    The Fight

13: Kings/Pacers Brawl

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    This fight led to an unprecedented number of suspensions coming down from the league office. 

    Sixteen players were suspended for at least one game, with Dale Davis of the Pacers and Michael Smith of the Kings getting two games off.

    The suspensions were the result of a bench-clearing brawl.

12: Reggie Miller and Spike Lee

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    Reggie Miller was a thorn in the collective side of every Knicks fan for years.  He had a special place in Spike Lee's heart, thanks to antics like this.

    The Choke Sign

11: Doc Rivers and Kevin Johnson with Outside Interference from Greg Anthony

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    What started as a one-on-one battle between Kevin Johnson and Doc Rivers, erupted into a bench-clearing brawl just before the close of the first half.

    The worst part about the fight was an out-of-uniform Greg Anthony joining the fun by hitting Johnson with a cheap shot to the head from behind.

    The First Confrontation

    When it Turns Into a Brawl

10: Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams

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    The halftime confrontation that ultimately led to Jerry Sloan's retirement was reportedly almost an actual fist fight.  

    Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski had this to say about the Feb. 10, 2011, incident:

    "Showdown between Sloan and Williams became so heated Wednesday, at least two Jazz players feared they could come to blows. Never escalated."

9: JoJo English and Derek Harper

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    NBA commissioner David Stern was sitting courtside at this game between the Bulls and Knicks.

    He got an unexpected surprise when Derek Harper and JoJo English started a bench-clearing brawl that spilled into the stands near Stern's seat.

    The Brawl

8: Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson

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    Mourning and Johnson are a couple of big dudes; Jeff Van Gundy is not.  He managed to get himself right in the middle of what could have been a very dangerous situation for him.

    He should get some credit for having the courage to try to break those guys up.

    I know all the players are totally different now, but I see this heated rivalry re-emerging soon.

    The Fight

7: Charles Barkley and Bill Laimbeer

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    My favorite part of this video is not the awesome fight between Barkley and Laimbeer (which left Laimbeer looking like a losing prize fighter). 

    It was definitely the way Isiah Thomas made a complete fool of himself.  He punched Rick Mahorn in the head for no reason and Mahorn just stood there as if Thomas was wearing Socker Boppers.

    The tension was high after that moment, and Laimbeer sent things into brawl status when he threw the ball at Barkley.

    Isiah Thomas Lookin' a Fool

    The Actual Brawl

6: Knicks/Nuggets Brawl

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    I find it relatively ironic that the guy Jared Jeffries is choking in this picture is now his teammate in New York.

    This was an all-out brawl at the end of a Denver blowout win. 

    New York's Isiah Thomas almost certainly started the mess by telling his players to get dirty (he warned 'Melo not to go into the lane at the end of the game).

    The deed was done when Mardy Collins put a mid-air hit on J.R. Smith. 

    That led to the brawl that got Smith and Nate Robinson suspended for 10 games, Collins for six games, Jeffries for four, and Jerome James and Nene for one game each.

    Carmelo Anthony got the biggest suspension (15 games) for landing a sucker punch in the middle of the melee.

    The Brawl

5: 1998-99 NBA Lockout

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    Back in 1998, the players and owners argued about the same things they're arguing about now: money.

    The lockout lasted from July 1, 1998 to Jan. 20, 1999.  Just this year, it looked as though the league was on the precipice of a full recovery from this mess.

    Now?  Well, here we go again.

4: Latrell Sprewell Chokes His Coach

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    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. 

3: 2011 NBA Lockout

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    After failing to make any progress in CBA negotiations Monday, it looks as though this lockout is going to be worse than the last one.

2: Kermit Washington and "The Punch"

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    The result of this one was the worst injury from any of the NBA's on-court fights.

    The Lakers' Kermit Washington blasted incoming Rudy Tomjanovich with a punch that he certainly could not have seen coming.

    The blow shattered bones in Tomjanovich's jaw and face and it took him five months to recover fully.

    The Punch

1: Pacers/Pistons Brawl

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    I think you all remember what went down on Nov. 19, 2004, at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit.

    I'll never forget watching hours of coverage of this unbelievable night on ESPNEWS.

    Ben Wallace started the fight that Ron Artest initially reacted to with relative maturity.  After Wallace shoved Artest in the face, he removed himself from the situation and laid on the scorer's table.

    When a fan decided to throw a beer at Indiana's ticking time bomb, all hell broke loose.  Artest charged into the stands, followed by Stephen Jackson.

    Total chaos ensued as fights between fans and players spilled onto the floor.

    Artest was suspended for 73 games, Stephen Jackson for 30, Jermaine O'Neal for 25, Ben Wallace for six (he deserved a much harsher punishment), and Anthony Johnson for five.

    Reggie Miller, Chauncey Billups, Elden Campbell and Derrick Coleman were all suspended one game apiece.

    Malice in the Palace