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List of people banned or suspended by the NBA

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Under Article 24 of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Constitution, the NBA commissioner has the power to hand down disciplinary actions (either suspensions or fines less than $60,000) on players for on-court incidents, conduct that does not conform to standards of fair play, conduct that does not comply with federal or state laws, and conduct that is detrimental to the game of basketball or the league.[1] As defined by the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the NBA, any party (a player, a team, the NBA or the NBPA) can appeal to an arbitrator if a suspension is longer than 12 games or a fine is more than $50,000. If an appeal is filed, the arbitrator would have the power to either uphold or reject the decisions made by the commissioner.[2] If the incident is serious enough, such as point shaving or substance abuse, players can be permanently banned from playing, although players banned for substance abuse are permitted to be reinstated two years later under the anti-drug agreement between the league and the NBPA.[3]

In the league's early years, a handful of players were banned permanently because of their involvement with point shaving in college, although Connie Hawkins was able to overturn the ban through litigation. Several more were banned permanently for abusing banned substances and they usually never returned, though some such as Micheal Ray Richardson and Chris Andersen were able to return to play after the ban. Among those suspended, Metta World Peace (then Ron Artest) and Latrell Sprewell faced the most serious punishments for on-court altercations; they were suspended 86 and 68 games, respectively. Gilbert Arenas was also suspended for more than half of a regular season's games for bringing firearms into an arena and drawing them in a dispute with teammate Javaris Crittenton.

Permanently banned[edit]

Name Team(s) Year(s) Season(s) Reason
Ralph Beard Indianapolis Olympians 1951 1951–52 In 1951, Beard and teammate Alex Groza were banned permanently after they admitted that they had shaved points while playing in college.[4]
Alex Groza Indianapolis Olympians In 1951, Groza and teammate Ralph Beard were banned permanently after they admitted that they had shaved points while playing in college.[4]
Norm Mager Baltimore Bullets 1950–51 In 1951, Mager was banned permanently when a hoax was revealed that he had shaved points while playing in college.[4][5]
Alvin Roth In 1951, Roth, a City College of New York player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point shaving scandal.[6]
Bill Spivey In 1951, Spivey, a University of Kentucky player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point-shaving scandal.[7]
Ed Warner In 1951, Warner, a City College of New York player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point-shaving scandal.[8]
Sherman White In 1951, White, a Long Island University player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point-shaving scandal.[9]
Jack Molinas Fort Wayne Pistons 1954 1953–54 On January 10, 1954, Molinas was banned permanently for betting on his own team while playing in college.[4]
Roger Brown 1966 Brown was banned permanently for his association with gambler Jack Molinas. Throughout his entire playing career, he went on to play in the rivaling American Basketball Association (ABA).[10] His number is still retired with the Indiana Pacers for the time spent in the ABA.
John Drew Atlanta Hawks
Utah Jazz
1986 In January 1986, Drew was banned permanently for repeatedly violating NBA's substance abuse policy.[11]
Chris Washburn Golden State Warriors
Atlanta Hawks
1989 In June 1989, Washburn was banned permanently after three positive drug tests.[12][13]
Roy Tarpley Dallas Mavericks 1991
1995
1991–92
1995–96
In October 1991, Tarpley was banned permanently for repeatedly violating NBA's substance abuse policy. He was reinstated two years later in 1994 but was permanently banned from the league again in December 1995 for using alcohol.[14]
Richard Dumas Phoenix Suns
Philadelphia 76ers
1991
1993
1995
1991–92
1993–94
1995–96
In 1991, Dumas was briefly suspended for violating NBA's substance abuse policy. In 1993, he was suspended indefinitely after he tested positive for a banned substance and failed to participate in a drug rehabilitation program.[15] After two years, he was reinstated and was subsequently banned for violating a clause in his contract which prohibited him from consuming alcohol.[16]
Donald Sterling Los Angeles Clippers 2013 2013–14 In September 2013, Sterling was recorded making racist remarks privately to his girlfriend.[17] The remarks stemmed from her posting a picture of herself on Instagram with Magic Johnson. He said, "Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games. Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?", and, "You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want", but "the little I ask you is ... not to bring them to my games".[18] On April 25, 2014, TMZ leaked an audio recording of the conversation.[19] On April 29, 2014, Commissioner Adam Silver banned the Clippers owner for life, as well as fining him $2.5 million. Silver also began the procedure of forcing Sterling out of the league, eventually replacing his position with Steve Ballmer buying the team for around $2 billion.[20]
O. J. Mayo Milwaukee Bucks 2016 2016–17 In 2016, Mayo was banned for violating the NBA's substance abuse policy. He was eligible to apply for reinstatement in 2018.[21]
Tyreke Evans Indiana Pacers 2019 2018–19 On May 17, 2019, Evans was banned for violating the league's anti-drug policy regarding a drug of abuse. He is eligible to apply for reinstatement after two years in 2021.[22]

Permanently banned but later reinstated[edit]

Most cases where a player has been banned from the NBA but later reinstated are a result of the league's 1983 anti-drug policy. The policy, developed jointly between the NBA and the players' association, made a third illegal drug use offense punishable by a ban, although a player could apply for reinstatement after a minimum of two years.[23]

Name Team Year Season Reason
Connie Hawkins 1966 During his freshman year in college, Hawkins was linked to a point shaving scandal. As a result of this connection, he was informally banned from the NBA in 1961, and formally banned in 1966. Hawkins filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA, claiming that he was unfairly banned from participation when there was no substantial evidence linking him to the scandal. In 1969, the NBA settled the suit with Hawkins, paying him a cash settlement and lifting his ban to play with the Phoenix Suns.[24][25]
Micheal Ray Richardson New Jersey Nets 1986 1985–86 In February 1986, Richardson was banned permanently for repeatedly violating the NBA's substance abuse policy. He was reinstated two years later in July 1988, although he never played in the NBA, on his own accord.[26]
Lewis Lloyd Houston Rockets 1987 1986–87 On January 13, 1987, Lloyd and teammate Mitchell Wiggins were banned permanently after testing positive for cocaine, a banned substance.[27] Lloyd was reinstated on September 8, 1989.[28]
Mitchell Wiggins Houston Rockets 1986–87 On January 13, 1987, Wiggins and teammate Lewis Lloyd were banned permanently after testing positive for cocaine, a banned substance.[27] Wiggins was reinstated on July 28, 1989.[3]
Duane Washington New Jersey Nets 1988 1988–89 In October 1988, Washington was banned permanently after testing positive for cocaine, a banned substance.[29] He was later reinstated, and played briefly for the Clippers in the 1992–93 season.[30]
Stanley Roberts Philadelphia 76ers 1999 1999–00 On November 25, 1999, Roberts was banned permanently after testing positive for a banned substance.[31] He was reinstated three years later with a brief stint with the Toronto Raptors in 2003.[32]
Chris Andersen New Orleans(/Oklahoma City) Hornets 2006 2005–06 On January 25, 2006, Andersen was banned permanently for violating the NBA's substance abuse policy. He subsequently filed a grievance against the NBA, but an arbitrator denied his request in March 2006.[33] He was reinstated two years later with the New Orleans Hornets on March 4, 2008.[34]

Suspended[edit]

Only suspensions lasting six games or more are included.

Length Name Team(s) Year Season(s) Reason
86 games
(73 regular season games and 13 playoff games)
(Rest of the 2004-05 season)
Ron Artest
(now known as
Metta World Peace)
Indiana Pacers 2004 2004–05 On November 19, 2004, Artest entered the stands and grabbed a fan after a drink was thrown at him during an NBA game against the Detroit Pistons, causing a large brawl between players and fans. After Artest left the stands, he punched another fan that came onto the court to confront him.[35]
1 year
(Rest of the 2019-20 season)
Mark Stevens Golden State Warriors 2019 2019–20 On June 6, 2019, Stevens a minority owner in the Golden State Warriors pushed Toronto Raptor Guard Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA playoff. He was suspended for one year from all NBA games and arenas as well as fined a half a million dollars ($500,000) for the incident.
68 games
(originally set to be 82 games)
(Rest of the 1997-98 season)
Latrell Sprewell Golden State Warriors 1997 1997–98 On December 1, 1997, Sprewell choked, threatened, and punched Warriors head coach P. J. Carlesimo during team practice after Carlesimo criticized his passing. He was immediately suspended ten games; however, the Warriors terminated Sprewell's $23.7 million contract two days later, and he was subsequently suspended for a year. Upon appeal, his original contract termination was overturned and his 82-game suspension was reduced to 68 games.[36][37]
50 games
(Rest of the 2009-10 season)
Gilbert Arenas Washington Wizards 2010 2009–10 On January 27, 2010, Arenas was suspended for violating NBA rules and Washington, D.C. laws by storing an unloaded firearm in his locker and drawing it on teammate Javaris Crittenton during an argument regarding gambling debts in December 2009. Arenas was already on indefinite suspension since January 6 while under investigation for carrying and storing unlicensed firearms.[38][39]
38 games
(Rest of the 2009-10 season)
Javaris Crittenton Washington Wizards On January 27, 2010, Crittenton was suspended for violating NBA rules and Washington, D.C. laws by storing an unloaded firearm in his locker and drawing it on teammate Gilbert Arenas during an argument regarding gambling debts in December 2009.[38][39] He would be waived from the team after that season and never play another NBA game afterwards.
30 games Stephen Jackson Indiana Pacers 2004 2004–05 On November 19, 2004, Jackson entered the stands and punched a fan after a drink was thrown at teammate Ron Artest during an NBA game against the Detroit Pistons.[35]
26 games Kermit Washington Los Angeles Lakers 1977 1977–78 On December 9, 1977, Washington punched Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich in the face during a fight in an NBA game. Tomjanovich was seriously injured and missed the rest of the season, but later made a full recovery.[40][41]
25 games Jodie Meeks Washington Wizards 2018 2017–18
2018–19
On April 4, 2018, Meeks was suspended after testing positive for Ipamorelin and GHRP-2. Meeks missed all of the playoffs and the start of the 2018–19 season.[42]
24 games Jeffery Taylor Charlotte Hornets 2014 2014–15 On November 29, 2014, Taylor was suspended after pleading guilty to one count of domestic assault and malicious destruction of property.[43]
20 games Hedo Türkoğlu Orlando Magic 2013 2012–13 On February 13, 2013, Türkoğlu was suspended after testing positive for methenolone, a banned substance.[44]
Nick Calathes Memphis Grizzlies 2014 2013–14 On April 18, 2014, Calathes was suspended after testing positive for tamoxifen, a banned substance.[45] As a result, Calathes would miss the Grizzlies' entire playoff run that year, with the rest of the suspension being revoked after it was appealed.
Joakim Noah New York Knicks 2017 2016–17
2017–18
On March 24, 2017, Noah was suspended after testing positive for ligandrol, a banned substance.[46] Noah was suspended for the last 10 games of the Knicks' 2016–17 regular season, and also for the first 10 games of the 2017–18 season.
15 games
(originally set to be 25 games)
Jermaine O'Neal Indiana Pacers 2004 2004–05 On November 19, 2004, O'Neal punched a fan who came onto the court to confront teammate Ron Artest during an NBA game against the Detroit Pistons. Upon appeal, his original 25-game suspension was reduced to 15 games.[35][47]
15 games Carmelo Anthony Denver Nuggets 2006 2006–07 On December 16, 2006, Anthony punched New York Knicks player Mardy Collins in the face during a brawl in an NBA game.[48]
15 games
(originally set to be 5 games)
Mitch McGary Oklahoma City Thunder 2016 2016–17 On July 8, 2016, McGary was suspended for five games for violating the NBA's drug policy.[49] However, on September 13 that same year, McGary was suspended an additional 10 games for non-compliance with the league's drug policy, thus bringing the number of regular season games he was suspended for to 15.[50] On October 24, McGary was waived by the Thunder before the season started.[51] If McGary signs up with an NBA team again, he will still serve his suspension in the regular season before returning to play.
11 games Dennis Rodman Chicago Bulls 1997 1996–97 On January 15, 1997, Rodman kicked a courtside cameraman in the groin after tripping over him during an NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.[52] Though he was not assessed a technical foul at the time, he was suspended two days later.[53][54]
10 games Vernon Maxwell Houston Rockets 1995 1994–95 On February 6, 1995, Maxwell entered the stands and punched a fan who he claimed was heckling him during an NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers.[55]
J. R. Smith Denver Nuggets 2006 2006–07 On December 16, 2006, Smith fought with New York Knicks player Nate Robinson during a brawl in an NBA game.[48]
Nate Robinson New York Knicks On December 16, 2006, Robinson fought with Denver Nuggets player J. R. Smith during a brawl in an NBA game.[48]
Lindsey Hunter Detroit Pistons 2007 On March 7, 2007, Hunter was suspended after testing positive for phentermine, a banned substance.[56]
Darius Miles Boston Celtics 2008 2008–09 On September 20, 2008, Miles was suspended after testing positive for phentermine, a banned substance.[57]
Rashard Lewis Orlando Magic 2009 2009–10 On August 6, 2009, Lewis was suspended after testing positive for dehydroepiandrosterone, a banned substance.[58]
Delonte West Boston Celtics 2010 2010–11 On August 20, 2010, West was suspended after pleading guilty to weapon charges from September 2009.[59]
O. J. Mayo Memphis Grizzlies 2011 On January 27, 2011, Mayo was suspended after testing positive for dehydroepiandrosterone, a banned substance.[60]
Larry Sanders Milwaukee Bucks 2015 2014–15 On January 16, 2015, Sanders was suspended after testing positive for marijuana, a banned substance, for the second time. After Sanders' suspension ended, the Bucks bought him out before he played another game.[61]
8 games Chris Webber Sacramento Kings 2004 2003–04 On February 17, 2004, Webber was suspended five games for violating the NBA's drug policy and suspended three games for pleading guilty to lying to a grand jury about making an illegal loan when he was a college basketball player for University of Michigan. He served both suspensions together.[62]
Darren Collison Sacramento Kings 2016 2016–17 On October 2, 2016, Collison was suspended after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge against his wife in May.[63]
Bobby Portis Chicago Bulls 2017 2017–18 On October 17, 2017, Portis punched teammate Nikola Mirotić in the face during an altercation in team practice. Mirotić suffered a concussion and facial fractures, which left him out until December 8, 2017. A day after the incident, Portis was suspended for the first eight games of the 2017–18 season.
7 games Nick Van Exel Los Angeles Lakers 1996 1995–96 On April 10, 1996, Van Exel shoved referee Ron Garretson onto the scorer's table after Garretson ejected him for arguing a call during an NBA game against the Denver Nuggets.[64]
7 games Rasheed Wallace Portland Trail Blazers 2003 2002–03 On January 15, 2003, Wallace confronted and threatened referee Tim Donaghy in the parking lot outside of the Rose Garden after Donaghy had given him a technical foul earlier during an NBA game against the Memphis Grizzlies.[65]
7 games Ron Artest
(now known as
Metta World Peace)
Sacramento Kings 2007 2007–08 On July 15, 2007, Artest was suspended after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge against his wife in May.[66]
Stephen Jackson Golden State Warriors On July 15, 2007, Jackson was suspended after pleading guilty to a felony charge of criminal recklessness for firing a gun outside of an Indiana strip club during an altercation in October 2006.[66]
J. R. Smith Denver Nuggets 2009 2009–10 On August 28, 2009, Smith was suspended after pleading guilty to a reckless driving charge for a 2007 traffic collision that resulted in the death of a passenger. He was already suspended two games right after the crash.[67]
Metta World Peace
(formerly known as
Ron Artest)
Los Angeles Lakers 2012 2011–12 On April 24, 2012, World Peace elbowed Oklahoma City Thunder player James Harden in the head during an NBA game.[68]
6 games Dennis Rodman Chicago Bulls 1996 1995–96 On March 18, 1996, Rodman headbutted referee Ted Bernhardt after being ejected during an NBA game against the New Jersey Nets.[54][69]
6 games
(originally set to be 10 games)
Maurice Taylor Houston Rockets 2003 2003–04 On November 8, 2003, Taylor violated the NBA's drug policy. Upon appeal, his original 10-game suspension was reduced to six games.[70][71]
6 games Ben Wallace Detroit Pistons 2004 2004–05 On November 19, 2004, Wallace shoved Indiana Pacers player Ron Artest after a hard foul during an NBA game, leading to a large brawl between players and fans.[35]
D. J. Mbenga Dallas Mavericks 2006 2005–06 On June 2, 2006, Mbenga entered the stands to aid the wife of head coach Avery Johnson, who was in a confrontation with two fans.[72]
Mardy Collins New York Knicks 2006 2006–07 On December 16, 2006, Collins flagrantly fouled Denver Nuggets player J. R. Smith and tried to attack Nuggets player Carmelo Anthony during a brawl in an NBA game.[48]
Willie Reed Detroit Pistons 2017 2016–17 On February 6, 2017, Reed was suspended following a domestic violence incident against his wife on August 5 of the previous year when he played for the Los Angeles Clippers. After missing the first game a day later against the Brooklyn Nets, the Pistons traded him and future second-round draft picks to the Chicago Bulls for Jameer Nelson on February 8. He was immediately waived by the Bulls. If Reed signs up with an NBA team again, he will still serve his suspension in the regular season before returning to play.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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