The NBA is one of the greatest sports leagues in the world and has delivered some of the most epic sporting moments of all-time. Unfortunately, the league has also had to contend with a large number of scandals over the years. Here are the 8 most surprising scandals to ever hit the NBA.
Tim Donaghy Match-Fixing
Every sports fan considers their sport to be sacred and free of corruption. Sadly, the day that image was shattered for basketball fans came in 2002 when NBA referee Tim Donaghy was found guilty of match-fixing games in the league including game 6 of the 2002 NBA Finals involving Sacramento Kings and LA Lakers. Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison and a halfway house. This scandal surprised NBA fans worldwide because until this point they had always felt their top referees were untouchable when it came to match-fixing.
Calvin Murphy Abuse Claims
Calvin Murphy is undoubtedly one of the great players to grace the NBA and spent the majority of his best years playing as guard with Houston Rockets. The player has the unique accolade of being the shortest player to ever be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. The darker side of Murphy’s life includes having 14 children with 9 different women and being accused of abusing five of those children.
Gilbert Arenas’ Guns
On Christmas Eve 2009, it was alleged that Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas and team mate Javaris Crittenton had become involved in a bust-up over gambling debts before their game that night. Witness reports alleged that Arenas and Crittenton pulled out guns on each other. It was later reported that the guns were not loaded but this still contravened NBA regulations about bringing firearms into an arena and Washington D.C. laws of carrying a gun without a licence.
The Jayson Williams Driver Shooting
On 14th February, 2002, former Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets center Jayson Williams was entertaining guests at his home in New Jersey. Tragically, the limousine driver of Williams, Costas Christofi was shot dead. Williams initially claimed it was accidental before eventually pleading guilty to aggravated assault in 2010. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.
Lattrell Sprewell Choking
The relationship between a coach and his player can become quite intense at the highest standard of sport. Golden State Warriors small forward Lattrell Sprewell took this to a whole new level in 1997 when he was accused of literally choking his coach P.J. Carlesimo during a training session. Sprewell returned to the session after 20 minutes to then throw some punches. The league dished out a 68-game suspension to the talented player.
Michael Jordan’s Gambling Addiction
Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan might well arguably be the greatest NBA player of all-time but the man certainly possesses some flaws. One of those flaws being gambling addiction. Many stories have circulated surrounding Jordan’s addiction to betting. Betting on luggage at the airport, rock, paper, scissors, and golf are just some examples. The biggest scandal revolves around his first retirement actually being a covered up suspension for gambling and breaking NBA regulations. This came at a time before online NBA sports betting had flourished as it has today. If it had back then, Jordan may well have gotten himself in even hotter water.
Tony Parker Cheats On Eva Longoria
The only surprising thing about this scandal was how on earth San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker could even think about cheating on Eva Longoria. Cheating full stop is terrible but on Eva?! The pair divorced in 2011 with Longoria blaming the failure of their marriage on Parker’s affair with the wife of his team mate Brent Barry.
Magic Johnson’s HIV Revelation
The fact that former LA Lakers point guard had revealed he was HIV positive was a shock more than a scandal. It was considered a scandal at the time because of the world’s uneducated views on HIV and AIDS. Fortunately, the surprise in this instance came with the general reaction to the revelation. Johnson was praised for having the courage to speak out about the infection. He has since gone on to become a famous figure in the fight against AIDS.