5 most controversial players of NBA: From Charles Barkley to Dennis Rodman

Some players are just known for their antics on and off the court. Want to know about these controversial players we are talking about? Let's get in.

Yakshpat BhargavaAuthor

Updated - 15 August 2021 06:51 PM

5 Most controversial NBA players

The NBA is undoubtedly the most entertaining leagues in the world. Having taken the main frame of basketball for almost a century, this league surely knows how to keep its fanatics engrossed with clutch plays, monumental rivalries, buzzer-beater game-winning shots and also controversial scenarios. Speaking of the latter, there have been some players who might have been heroes on the court but surely had a dark shadow behind them.

Some players are just known for their antics on and off the court. Want to know about these controversial players we are talking about? Let's get in.

Here are 5 most controversial NBA players of all time:

5. Charles Barkley

He entered the league as the 5th overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Named as the 1993 MVP, Charles Barkley might be an 11-time All-Star but his on and off-court behaviour was something that always kept everyone on their toes. Ever since he entered the league, the tension between Charles Barkley and the media, fans and coaches only grew. From spitting on a young girl during a game to being indulged in an explosive fight with several players on the court, Barkley has lived it all.

Not only that, Barkley went onto be part of one of the most controversial Nike commercials of all time which resulted in a major outrage among young basketball fans.

4. Isiah Thomas

A Hall of Famer, whose views are unmatched and unpredictable, Isiah Thomas surely was the player who basically ran the New York Knicks right into the ground. Yet he could not manage to stay away from controversy until the end of his playing tenure. In 2007, Thomas was named one of the defendants in a sexual harassment suit filed by former team's executive Anucha Browne Sanders. She alleged that the 12-time All-Star sexually harassed her and owner James Dolan fired her out of spite.

That same year, Thomas was inspected to hold some secret and illegal pre-draft workouts for potential prospects. The incident was unveiled in 2011 where the Knicks were fined $20,000. Not to forget, the possible suicide attempt which occurred in 2008.

3. Jason Kidd

Undoubtedly one of the best players to have ever played in the NBA yet, but no fanatic could deny Kidd’s controversial trajectory. Throughout his playing year, Jason Kidd was speculated to be a culprit of extensive domestic abuse against his ex-wife, Joumana. Started in 2001, Jason Kidd was arrested and charged with domestic abuse for assaulting her during a fight. In 2007, more claims were passed when Jason and Joumana were getting a divorce.

While Jason claimed that he was a victim of ‘extreme cruelty, Joumana claimed that the 10-time All-Star Point Guard had numerous adulterous affairs. Not only that, Joumana claimed that Jason once broke her rib and damaged her hearing when he smashed her against his car.

2. Patrick Ewing


Ewing showcased just how players like Michael Jordan could be dealt with. But Ewing’s off-court life surely had the same spice as his aggression inside the court. In 2001, he testified in the famous Atlanta Gold Club Prostitution Trail. Moreover, in his testimony, he admitted to visiting the club twice and received sexual advances each time on his visit.

Patrick Ewing’s actions surely made a huge impact on his family, especially after knowing that he is a father of three. Having said that, he may have been divorced at that time, but there is just something wrong with that picture.

1. Dennis Rodman

Not many would disagree that Dennis Rodman was controversy’s best friend. From being one of the core members in Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the late '90s, Rodman was the player who added spice to their simplicity. From making his WWE Debut to marrying his own self to wearing a white wedding dress on the court to changing his hair colour every day, Rodman’s extent of craziness could be described in words.

Not only that, numerous amount of fights with the team management always kept Rodman on the verge of being sacked. For years, his tattoos, piercings and temper caused a stir on the NBA court.


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