Basketball may not entirely be a contact sport, but that doesn’t mean all its players are squeaky-clean. In fact, many members of the NBA, both past and present, have committed their fair share of fouls both on and off the court, with a few sporting some pretty impressive rap sheets. These professional basketball players have been hit with punishments harsher than any in-game penalty, including fines and even jail time.
We’ll take a look at eight NBA players who got caught for something a “tad” worse than traveling.
1. Zach Randolph
Zach Randolph has been playing in the NBA since 2001, and is currently a center for the Sacramento Kings. He previously played for Portland, New York, Los Angeles, and Memphis. In 2004, while playing for the Trail Blazers, Randolph won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He was also noted for his 2009 suspension for punching another player in the jaw.
You would think that a professional basketball star would be making more than enough money, but Randolph apparently felt the need to take a second job; as a drug dealer. On August 9, 2017, police responded to a disturbance caused by a crowd of people playing loud music, smoking pot, drinking, and blocking the street. The incident ended with six vehicles damaged–all owned by authorities–and the retrieval of numerous firearms and drugs. Unfortunately, some of the marijuana seized belonged to Zach Randolph, who was charged with possession with intent to sell. He was released on $20,000 bail the next day. He was later sentenced to 150 hours of community service after entering a no contest plea.
This wasn’t even Randolph’s first arrest, having been busted four times over eight years for various offenses ranging from underage drinking, to driving under the influence.
2. Dennis Schröder
German Dennis Schröder currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks, his first NBA team, after being drafted in 2013. In the 2012-2013 season of the Basketball Bundesliga (which translates to “Federal Basketball League”), while playing for Germany’s Basketball Löwen Braunschweig, he was named Most Improved Player, and Best Young German Player.
Dennis Schröder is the most recent case of an NBA player with a criminal record, having been charged with domestic violence in late September 2017. Security footage at a hookah bar in Georgia showed Schröder among those arguing with another individual. The 24-year-old player is reported to have pushed the victim, then going on to punch and kick the victim multiple times before security stepped in.
The victim only suffered scratches and some ankle pain, so this incident isn’t too bad. However, given that Dennis Schröder could still be considered a league rookie, he’s not off to a good start.
The case is still tied up in the courts, but the district attorney’s office recommended Schröder be charged with felony aggravated battery, which could mean up to 20 years in prison. Schröder said in April 2018 that he isn’t worried at the moment, focusing on his NBA performance instead.
3. & 4. Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha
This one’s a two-for-one. The two players, then both with the Atlanta Hawks (Sefolosha now plays for Utah, while Antic returned to playing in Europe), ended up causing trouble for the police in Manhattan, who were investigating the stabbing of fellow NBA star Chris Copeland, in April 2015. The two were charged with obstructing governmental administration for refusing to clear the area of the crime scene, as well as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Thabo Sefolosha got into an altercation with one of the officers that resulted in him fracturing his fibula–a problem ignored until the next day, when he was let out of police custody. As a result of the injury, Sefolosha missed the rest of the season.
The charges against Pero Antic were eventually dropped, while Sefolosha was found not guilty. The two went on to sue members of the NYPD, claiming they were wrongfully arrested, and excessive force was used. Antic lost his lawsuit, while Sefolosha settled for $4.0 million.
5. Dante Cunningham
An NBA veteran, Dante Cunningham played for six teams (Portland, Charlotte, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, and currently Brooklyn) since entering the league in 2009. Overall, his career has not been particularly notable.
What is worth mentioning, however, is that he is an NBA player with a criminal record–in fact, he was arrested twice in one week. In early April 2014, Cunningham was arrested on a charge of domestic abuse, his girlfriend claiming that he broke down a locked door, slammed her against a wall, and choked her for 15 to 20 minutes.
Three days later, Cunningham was arrested again for “suspicion of [terroristic] threats.” Despite how it sounds, the charge has nothing to do with terrorism; rather, it refers to terrorizing someone with threats of violence. In this case, it was texts, presumably to the same woman; he even had to hand over his phone and computer for the investigation.
The charges were eventually dropped after authorities concluded that some of the reported victim’s claims were false. However, Cunningham admitted that the charges left a stigma that would impact his career.
6. Darren Collison
In his first NBA season, Darren Collison obtained the NBA All-Rookie team honors, and won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award in his senior year of college. He returned to the Indiana pacers in 2017, having also played for the team from 2010 to 2012.
In May 2016, Collison received one misdemeanor count of domestic violence causing injury, and a domestic battery charge for physically assaulting his wife, Keyosha Sanders. He apologized in a public statement, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery several months later. Put on three-year probation, Collison spent 20 days in jail and another 20 hours performing community service. He also had to attend a domestic abuse program.
7. Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson has had an interesting career, starting with the Indiana Pacers in 2010 and, five teams later, returning to them in 2017. Nicknamed “Born Ready,” he also had a career outside of basketball, releasing a song under his own label, and at one point having a video crew following him around for the sake of a reality show about his life.
That show, however, never came to fruition. Why? Well, in October 2008, Stephenson received a Class B misdemeanor sexual assault charge after inappropriately touching a 17-year-old girl (he was a high schooler at the time). The plans for the reality show were canceled as a result.
Then, in August 2010, Stephenson was arrested for third-degree assault after it was claimed that he pushed his pregnant girlfriend down a flight of stairs. What’s more, it said that once she reached the floor, he slammed her head on the bottom step. However, the prosecution was unable to form a solid case, and the charges were eventually dismissed.
8. Jason Kidd
Though Jason Kidd is no longer an active basketball player, he is still involved in the NBA, being a coach for a half-decade, making him eligible for this list. He was an active player in the NBA from 1994 to 2013, playing for four teams (Dallas, Phoenix, New Jersey, and New York) before announcing his retirement. He then became coach of the Brooklyn Nets for one year, before leading the Milwaukee Bucks from July 2014 to January 2018, being fired in the middle of the 2017-2018 season.
Unfortunately, Kidd’s criminal record is nearly as storied as his basketball career. Noted for having an anger problem, Kidd pleaded guilty in January 2001 to physically assaulting his then-wife, Joumana, and was ordered to attend anger management classes for half a year. While it appeared the two patched things up, they filed for divorce in 2007; he claimed she threatened him with new (false) abuse claims, while she said his abuse never stopped, damaging her hearing, and breaking a rib.
Kidd’s most recent charge is a misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated, having hit a telephone pole near his house in July 2012. Kidd himself wasn’t hurt, ironically, because he was drunk; the alcohol relaxed his body enough to avoid injury. Photos of the crashed car were said to be so bad that it’s a wonder nobody was hurt or worse. Kidd pleaded guilty, and was put on a reduced sentence probation, which involved community service acts like speaking at public schools about the evils of drunk driving.