The locker room (or dugout for some) is where the most fascinating and outrageous things happen.
Sportsmanship, on top of friendship and camaraderie, is persistently emphasized. But ego and anger issues may block the way, resulting in some of the nastiest moments in the history of the NBA.
Giving basketball and NBA a bad name, here are some of the most controversial and shocking locker room scandals.
And yes, the higher the shock value, the more memorable the incident became.
1) Gun taunting incident between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton
And it all started with a card game while on the team plane!
Hotheads prevailed, resulting in claims they—Arenas and Crittenton—were familiar with firearms.
Two days later, during a practice, Arenas brought four guns and taunted Crittenton. Crittenton cocked a gun and pointed it on Arenas. A full standoff started, which was then broken up by the rest of the Washington Wizards especially Caron Butler.
The Wizards suspended both players for the remainder of the season. Arenas and Crittenton also faced gun possession charges.
Arenas continued playing with the team for a couple more seasons.
Crittenton, however, was convicted in 2011 due to voluntary manslaughter. He was involved in the shooting death of a woman in Atlanta.
2) A confrontation between Jermaine O’Neal and Rick Carlisle
It happened after the infamous—yep, you guessed it right—Malice at the Palace. No list of NBA scandals would be complete without mentioning this incident.
The 2004 brawl involved the Indiana Pacers specifically Ron Artest, Ben Wallace, and Stephen Jackson; Detroit Pistons; and their fans.
The intense mood was carried over to Pacers’ locker room. O’Neal, who also threw several punches on that night, yelled at his coach who was also calming players who were still on edge. For O’Neal, Carlisle held the players back and prevented them from fighting for themselves.
Carlisle matched the intensity of O’Neal’s voice, telling him that the staff tried to help. That’s all.
What could’ve been a mini brawl was stopped even before it happened, though.
3) A prank war between D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young
Gone too far a prank, Russell probably didn’t realize the consequences of him recorded his teammate, Young, while the latter was confessing about his cheating of then-fiance Iggy Azalea. Young was unaware that he was being recorded.
The scandal broke when the video was released publicly. The clip showed Russell asking, almost provoking, Young to confess about being and sleeping with other women who were not his ex-fiance.
As if it wasn’t cringe-worthy enough, Russell received the cold shoulder treatment from his teammates. Based on reports, Russell was forced to eat alone at one point. When he sat beside veterans, they would also walk away.
At the franchise level, there had been speculations about trust issues involving him.
It was also an antagonizing moment because the team was supposed to celebrate the exit of Kobe Bryant. This was one of the darkest times in the team’s history.
Russell also bore the stigma of what he did until today.