The NBA commissioner has the power to hand down disciplinary actions on players for on and off court conduct. While there have been a few players banned permanently from the NBA, most recently O.J Mayo for testing positive banned substances and then violating the anti-drug program he was on, many just get suspensions.
From 73 games suspensions for punching a fan to two games for yelling at an announcer, these players found themselves in the dog house, and for good reason.
Ron Artest Went Into The Stands And Fought A Fan
November 19th, 2004 is a day that will forever be known as the night Ron Artest fought a fan. Ron Artest entered the stands and grabbed a fan after a drink was thrown on him during an NBA game against the Detroit Pistons, causing a large brawl.
After Artest left the stands, he punched another fan that came onto the court to confront him. For that, he was given 86 games which included 73 regular season games and 13 playoff games.
Latrell Sprewell’s Beef With The Coach
Latrell Sprewell was suspended for 68 games (originally set to be 82 games) during the 1997/1998 season. He threatened and choked Warriors head coach P.J. Carlesimo after he criticized his passing.
His $23.5 million contract was suspended for a year and upon appeal, his original contract termination was overturned and his 82-game suspension was reduced to 68 games. It’s one of the only times in history that a player and a coach got into a physical altercation.
Gilbert Arenas Pulled A Firearm On A Teammate
In 2010, Gilbert Arenas was suspended for violating NBA rules and law by storing an unloaded firearm in his locker and drawing it on teammate Javaris Crittenton during one of their arguments.
The conversation heated up over gambling debts in December 2009 and Arenas was already on indefinite suspension since January 6th while under investigation for carrying and storing unlicensed firearms. The altercation ended up getting him 50 games which also was the rest of the 2009/2010 season.
Javaris Crittenton Also Got Suspended In The Altercation
This is the second half of the Gilbert Arenas suspension in 2010. Javaris Crittenton was also suspended for violating NBA rules and Washington D.C. laws by storing his unloaded firearm in his locker as well.
While he was confronting Gilbert Arenas about gambling debts, things got heated and he pulled out a gun on Arenas. He was waived by the team and would never play another games in the NBA afterwards.
Stephen Jackson Got 30 Games For Hitting Fans
Stephen Jackson has been known for his hot temper and it went to a completely different level on November 19th, 2004. He entered the stands and punched a fan after they threw their drink on his teammate Ron Artest (who we know took matters into his own hands too).
Jackson was one of the many teammates who were in a full out brawl with fans during their game against the Detroit Pistons. He ended up getting 30 games for his actions.
Kermit Washington Got 26 Games For Fighting
While playing a game with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1977, Kermit Washington punched Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich in the face during a fight during an NBA game.
Washington ended up getting 26 games for his punch after Tomjanovich was seriously injured and missed the rest of the reason, but later made a full recovery and was able to play a couple of games at the end of the season.
Jodie Meeks Tested Positive For A Few Illegal Substances
Jodie Meeks was suspended on April 4th, 2018 after he was caught using Ipamorelin and GHRP-2. Meeks missed all of the playoffs and the start of the 2018-2019 season.
Meeks had to sit out for a total of 25 games and was released by the Washington Wizards afterward. He joined the Toronto Raptors during the 2019 season on a 10-day contract and was able to earn his way onto the team for the rest of the season.
Jeffrey Taylor’s Domestic Dispute
Jeff Taylor was suspended for a total of 24 games after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence and malicious destruction of the hotel property.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver described it as, “.. After a night of heavy drinking, Mr. Taylor and the woman had an intense and high-volume argument that began in the hotel room where Mr. Taylor was staying which prompted hotel guests to call Marriott security. The argument escalated and resulted in Mr. Taylor shoving the woman in a violent manner.”
Hedo Tested Positive For Methenolone
Hedo Turkoglu was suspended for 20 games after he violated NBA drug policy. He tested positive for methenolone. Turkoglu reportedly used the anabolic steroid in the summer between the 2012-2013 seasons.
He said in a statement, “I take full responsibility for anything that goes into my body. This was a complete error in judgment on my part, and I apologize to the Orlando Magic organization, the league, my teammates and the Magic fans. I know I have let down a lot of people.”
Calathes Got 20 Games For Taking Tamoxifen
Nick Calathes was suspended for 20 games during his rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies. He was caught using tamoxifen, a banned substance that is known to reduce the effects of steroids.
In a statement made to USA TODAY Sports after his suspension was issued, Calathes was apologetic but disputed the league’s decision. He claims that he never took any medication whatsoever for performance-enhancing reasons. He still doesn’t agree with the decision and continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Noah Was Caught Using A Muscle Leaner
Joakim Noah was suspended while playing on the New York Knicks in 2017. He tested positive for ligandrol which is a banned substance in the NBA. The drug helps increase lean body mass and improves overall muscle strength. It’s a relatively new drug, and the only other athlete who’s been banned for using it is Will Grier, the former quarterback of the Florida Gators.
Noah was suspended for the final 10 games of the Knicks’ regular season and also the first 10 games of the next season.
O’Neal Was Another Casualty In The Artest Saga
Jermaine O’Neal is another victim of the Ron Artest fight in 2004. He went up into the crowd and punched a fan. Then, he punched another fan who came onto the court to confront his teammate Artest.
This game saw a plethora of suspensions, but Jermaine O’Neal only ended up receiving 15 games for what he did. The original suspension was 25 games, but it was reduced after a more thorough look at the tape.
Carmelo Couldn’t Handle His Composure
There’s a lot of trash talk that happens on the court that most viewers don’t actually get to see. After Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets and Mardy Collins were going at one another all game, tempers boiled over.
Anthony ended up getting suspended for 15 games during a brawl after he punched Collins in the face in 2006. He had completely lost his composure during the brawl and he says he’s since learned from the experience to handle his emotions more professionally.
Mitch McGary Was Suspended For 10 Games
In 2016, Mitch McGary was suspended for five games for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. Not only that, but just a few months later in September, McGary was given an additional 10 games for non-compliance with the league’s drug policy which brought the number of games he was suspended for to 15 games.
McGary ended up being waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder before the season started, so if he ever returned to the NBA he would still have to serve his time.
Dennis Rodman’s Courtside Controversy
Dennis Rodman isn’t just stirring up controversy as the unofficial American ambassador to North Korea — he also stirred up some controversy while playing on the court.
In 1997, Rodman kicked a courtside cameraman in the groin after tripping over him during an NBA game that saw his Chicago Bulls play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was given 11 games by the league even though during the game he wasn’t even given a technical foul.
Vernon Maxwell Didn’t Enjoy The Heckling
It’s unfortunate that altercations between fans and players aren’t really uncommon. Vernon Maxwell was suspended for 10 games in 1995 after he entered the stands and punched a fan who was heckling him during a game.
With the court being so close to the stands, and fans being able to easily heckle players from a few feet away, emotions can run very high on both sides. Heckling used to be much more obvious before NBA teams started playing music throughout the game.
J.R. Smith Is A Repeat Offender
J.R. Smith has missed a lot of games sporadically throughout his career due to suspension. His first major suspension was in 2013 when he threw an elbow at Jason Terry. He got five games for violating the drug policy in the same year.
Then, he swung his arm and made contact with the head of Celtics forward Jae Crowder which got him two games. He’s been suspended on four separate occasions, which has made him one of the NBA’s repeat offenders.
Larry Sanders Hasn’t Stepped Foot On A Court Since
Larry Sanders had multiple run-ins with NBA administration starting in 2014. First, he got five games for violating the anti-drug policy. Then, he was given one game for his nasty push on Nicolas Batum while he elevated towards the basket.
Lastly, he was given 10 games after he tested positive for illegal substances again. The suspension will only be lifted once he proved to be in full compliance with his treatment program. He opted for a buyout with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Lindsey Hunter Was Caught Using Weight Loss Drug
Lindsey Hunter was suspended in 2007 after his blood had traces of phentermine, which is a banned substance. Phentermine is used for short periods of time to promote weight loss if exercise and calorie reduction are not sufficient. Most of the weight loss occurs in the first weeks.
He ended up getting 10 games using it and has said that he used the experience to better himself both on and off the court.
DeMarcus Cousins Has Six Suspensions
DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended six times by the NBA for many different reasons. His first suspension was in 2012 when he confronted Spurs announcer Sean Elliot in a hostile manner which got him two games.
He received another two suspensions that same year for striking an opponent in the groin, while the next was for unprofessional behavior and conduct. Altogether, he has tallied up seven games in the sin-bin on six separate occasions.