We all love the game of basketball and everything that comes with it…
Players play hard night after night, but occasionally some get lost in the moment and….. BLAMMM!!
Emotions fly high, tempers ablaze, there’s a lot at stake and players will do whatever they can to get the job done.
Here we compile some of the hardest, grittiest, and downright ugly moments of the NBA.
Kevin McHale Decapitates Kurt Rambis
Game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals and the Lakers are leading the Boston Celtics 2-1. It’s the 3rd Quarter and the Lakers are up 76-70 when Abdul-Jabbar pulls down a rebound, launches a quick pass up court to James Worthy, who lays off to Kurt Rambis who charges through for what should be a standard lay-up. Until… Kevin McHale rips through and completely clotheslines Rambis to the floor and causes all sorts of mayhem on court. It was the moment that really heated up that series and the violent physicality took off from that point. Some say it was an effective turning point for the Celtics as they went on to win that Game 4 129-125, and then took the next to games to win the 1984 Championship 4-2.
Larry Bird & Dr. J Duke It Out!
November 9, 1984 third quarter of the Celtics vs 76ers game and Basketball goes Boxing, WWE, & UFC all at once. Larry Bird having the better night of the two stars, receives what looks like a sly elbow or at least a grappling which instantly causes mayhem. Larry seeing red, goes straight for Dr. J who happily obliges in exchanging blows.. Players get involved, pulling the stars apart but then find themselves going toe-to-toe with their opponents. Good old fashioned 1980’s basketball.
Karl Malone Treats Isiah Thomas To 40 Stitches!
This hard foul is a real nasty one. You find yourself really wincing seeing Karl Malone catch Isiah Thomas with a heavy elbow to the top of the eye. Thomas dances round a screen and looks to go to the hole, when Malone comes in for the block and KA-BLAMM!! The noise that rings once that elbow connects with Thomas’ head is horrific. His fellow Pistons weren’t impressed either once they saw their star PG bleeding, and were quick to let Malone know that but exchanging pushing & shoving with him. Again, another video of old school NBA, and their ‘looser’ approach to fouling.
Scottie Pippen Feels The Wrath Of Rodman & The Pistons
1991 and the Detroit Pistons were known as the bad boys of the NBA. This video here shows just how cheap some of the shots they took at players were. ECF with everything on the line, Pippen receives the ball just outside the free throw line and takes it to the hole where he is met with an ‘accidental’ block elbow to the face from Laimbeer. Then, on the way down Bad Boy Rodman gives Scottie the hardest of shoves to send him flying face first towards the first row of chairs, which fortunately he came out relatively unscathed. Pippen needed a second or two to compose himself and if the look on his face is anything to go by he sure was ready to tear Rodman a new one. Just another small moment of ugliness within this great game.
David Stern Watches As The Knicks & Bulls Punch On!
This one’s not so much a hard foul/flagrant, but just a moment of craziness, where players lost their heads in the moment. Playoff game, emotions high, everythings at stake. An off the ball exchange between Derrick Harper & Jo-Jo English see’s the two players fly across the court and throwing each other to the ground. All players dive into a bundle of sorts and punches are thrown…most notably Patrick Ewing. Apparently it got as bad as fans grabbing a hold of John Starks, which saw him bite back and then have security man-handling him. The look on Sterns face is priceless, and you can almost see him making note of all the suspensions he’d be about to give out.
Shaq-Attack, Attacks Rodney Stuckey’s Head
Probably not the hardest foul you’ll ever see, but I’m sure as hell it still hurt Rodney Stuckey. Reminiscent of McHale’s clothesline on Rambis, Shaq decides picking on somebody your own size doesn’t count for squat and near on decapitates small point guard Stuckey. Unlike other videos on this feature, there was no brawl. Would you be game enough to take a shot at Shaq?
Dwight Hands Paul Pierce Some Of His Own Truth!
Now, Paul Pierce despite being a great player and a Celtics legend does have the occasional moment of ‘flopping’ but this is not one of them. Pierce, underneath the basket looking for the lay-up has Howard come across him and slam his arm down on top of Pierce’s head which catches his eye and splits it. Pretty nasty, and was a blow for the Magic as Howard was obviously called for the flagrant.
Dexter Pittman Channels His Inner Cave-Man
This is one of the worst fouls I’ve seen in a while, It’s never nice watching this one back. Game 5 of the 2012 Conference Finals against the Pacers and there’s 19 seconds left of the game. The ball gets whipped out towards Pacers youngster Lance Stephenson, and as he comes in to pick the ball up Pittman launches across and just flat out elbows Stephenson straight in the throat. It wasn’t so clear at first watch, but the replay shows it all. Disgraceful play that saw Pittman slapped with a 3 game suspension, and rightly so.
Bynum Shows Off His ‘Bush League’ Moves
Another wincer. This was a very, very nasty hard foul that was obviously out of pure frustration as the Lakers were at the time 32 points down against the soon to be Champs Dallas Mavericks. Jose Barea, from the top of the key charges through the paint looking for a lay-up when Andrew Bynum crashes him in the top of his chest sending him sprawling to the floor in pain. Very cheap shot, that saw Bynum ejected from the game. Listen to the commentator go on about it being the worst case of ‘Bush League Tactics’ he’d ever seen. Brutal.
Quite obviously, this list of hard fouls & flagrants could go on for days but above is just a select few we’d hand chosen. Now, there is only one way that could finish up this feature and it is a tribute to the man who has treated us to the most moments of madness in the NBA. Ladies & gentlemen, let me introduce you to…. Ron Artest. Sorry…. Metta World Peace.
I’m not entirely sure what it is with Metta and his moments of madness. Guy can obviously ball, but what is it with him and these outbursts? Some have suggested it’s part of his eccentric make-up, some of flat out called him a thug. All sports have a ‘Hardman’ and the NBA’s just happens to be Metta. Despite some of the these moments being downright disgraceful, the game is definitely a better place for having players with his kind of character in it. May we bask in his moments of talent, and laugh at his comedic remarks, but let us also go back and revisit some of Metta’s ‘Greatest Hits’ and wince.
Malice At The Palace
Everyone knows about this. Probably the darkest moment in NBA’s history and a moment that is still talked about. My words wouldn’t do this justice, just watch…
Ron Show Rip Hamilton The Importance Of A Mask
2004, Game 6 of the ECF. Hamilton with his back to Artest, looking to post up turns and looks to beat Artest but is stopped in his tracks with a forearm to the face. What was scary was Hamilton had already broken his nose twice that year and had taken to wearing a protective mask (One he still dons now), which if not for that could very well have been a lot worse. Not one of Ron’s scariest moments, but rough none the less.
Jose Barea is a Ron Artest Magnet
Another Ron moment where you think… “What the?”. I’ve watched this video back numerous times now, and still can’t quite work out what Ron was thinking. Does he really like JJ Barea’s face and was to glue himself to it? Does he want to rearrange Barea’s face? Is Barea an Artest magnet? I don’t know… maybe you do?
Ron Sticks It To Amar’e
Not the hardest of fouls you’ll ever see but, it is Ron and yes you’ve guessed right… he’s swinging his arms around somebodies face again. This time it’s Amar’e Stoudemire. Can’t say I’d be game to swing my arms into Amar’e’s face but hey, that’s the difference between me and Ron.
Pau Gasol Receives A Hard Slapping
Now fellow team-mates and probably water way under the bridge, Gasol and Ron do have something of a past. 2009 Western Conference Finals and Gasol is away at a relatively empty basket, that is until Ron charges up to the right of Gasol and smashes through his throat. Again, Ron receives a flagrant.
Hardens Beard Not Enough To Cushion The Blow
This is a particularly bad one. Such a shame really, as it came at the end of an awesome quick Lakers play that saw an awesome stuff from World Peace. After the dunk, Harden looks to block Metta out and as he is moving away viciously throws the most violent of elbows scarily at James Hardens head. The connection from the elbow was there for all to see, and the NBA rightly suspended Metta. Metta did however go on to say he didn’t mean to throw the elbow and that he was just merely celebrating. I’ll let you make your minds up.
Obviously, this is such a minute part of the game, and in no way am I or us at NBA Nation Australia condoning any of these chaotic moments. It’s all part & parcel of the game, as much as we may not like that it’s just how it is. We all get lost in the moment, and occasionally we may do things we may regret at a later point. Sport is full emotions, and we shouldn’t forget that it’s not just us as fans that carry all those emotions. Players do too, and rarely they will manifest into moments of madness. This feature is just a collection of these moments.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this, and please let us know of any other gritty, mad fouls/flagrants we may have missed from this list.