Posted January 29, 2014

All-Sanctioned Team: Players, coaches and a mascot that drew David Stern’s ire

Ben Golliver, David Stern, Gilbert Arenas, Gregg Popovich, J.R. Smith, Kobe Bryant, Mark Cuban, Metta World Peace, NBA, Rasheed Wallace, The Point Forward All-Stars

The Players: Metta World Peace, Knicks

Metta World Peace; David Stern

I wish I could find a transcript of this conversation. (Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images)

This November will mark the 10-year anniversary of the so-called “Malice in the Palace,” and the key players involved in that unforgettable brawl are out of the league or on their last legs. Ben Wallace has retired, Jermaine O’Neal has played less than 400 minutes for the Warriors this season because of injuries, Stephen Jackson is currently without an NBA job after being released by the Clippers, and Ron Artest… well, he’s now Metta World Peace, with knee injuries contributing to a new reality where he makes more headlines with his Twitter posts than he does with his play for the Knicks.

Surveying World Peace’s NBA rap sheet could take the better part of an hour. He’s drawn sanctions for shoving, throwing a TV monitor, smashing a camera, flipping off the crowd, drawing too many flagrant fouls, elbowing (multiple times), fighting with a fan in the stands, publicly requesting a trade, pleading guilty to domestic violence charges and striking an opponent in the jaw.

Now 34, World Peace isn’t accruing fines and suspensions at the same rate as he did during his younger years. In fact, he completed an unexpected about-faces by winning the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2011 after he raffled off his 2010 championship ring to help raise awareness for mental health issues. He would call the raffle, which raised $650,000, “the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life outside of being married and having my kids.”

RELATED: World Peace, other NBA players on The All-Gridiron Team

After winning the award, which was voted on by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, World Peace thanked Stern for letting him remain in the league following the 2004 brawl. When he was asked by NBA.com about the fallout from the brawl this week, World Peace said simply: “Stern is good at letting things go.”

The commissioner’s strong reaction to the “Malice in the Palace” cost World Peace 86 total games (including the 2005 playoffs) and nearly $5 million in lost salary and it ushered in a new zero-tolerance, image-conscious era for the league. Although World Peace found himself in hot water time and again following the incident, including when he delivered a vicious elbow to James Harden in 2012, there seems little doubt, judging from World Peace’s comments, that Stern’s handling of the situation left a positive impact on his life and career.

J.R. Smith, Knicks

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith’s shoelace incident is just one instance of misbehavior on a lengthy rap sheet. (Andy Lyons/NBAE/Getty Images)

Social media provides a direct connection between players and fans, offering unrivaled opportunities for engagement and loyalty development! That marketing talk is all well and good until an NBA player blasts a hotel room photo of his female companion’s large, bare rump across Twitter. Now what?

No player represents the NBA’s modern punishment challenges quite like Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who was fined for that inappropriate photo in 2012, fined for making “hostile” tweets towards another player in 2013 and fined for repeatedly trying to until his opponents’ shoelaces during games in 2014. Additionally, Smith was thought to be using gang-related language on Twitter in 2009, he was accused by the singer Rihanna on Instagram of being “desert thirsty” towards women and “hungover from clubbing every night” during the 2013 playoffs, and he tweeted about “betrayal” when the Knicks finally cut his brother. The cameras — and camera phones — are always on these days, and the NBA media’s attention often finds itself on the league’s weakest behavioral link.

THOMSEN: All-Star mailbag: Starters, snubs, favorite moments and more

Smith, of course, has gotten into trouble in more traditional ways, too: he has elbowed an opponent, failed drug tests, flopped, delivered an overly flagrant foul, pleaded guilty to reckless driving and participated in a 2006 fight between the Nuggets and Knicks. His coach, Mike Woodson, recently resorted to benching Smith in hopes of putting an end to some of the immature behavior, but there’s no real reason to believe that Smith will pull himself together anytime soon.

The good news for Silver as he takes over the top spot is that Smith is the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to player behavior on social media. By and large, today’s NBA players, particularly high-profile players, are both brand-conscious and technologically savvy. The good news for Stern as he departs? Smith is somebody else’s pain in the rump now.

15 comments
David102
David102

As a Detroit Pistons fan, I feel there should be a team entry and we are it. Not only did Stern fine our players at a conspicuously high rate, but he had a funny way of tweaking league rules whenever the Pistons established a dominant defense. 

OldDadTheBoss
OldDadTheBoss

Rodman was a nut, but he did most of his craziness off the court. While on it, he defended, rebounded and generally contributed to the game itself, with various colored hair and wearing a wedding dress one time. Any negativity concerning 'the Worm' happened away from the arena.

nrwillick
nrwillick

No Rodman? How is he not on this list?

OldDadTheBoss
OldDadTheBoss

Cuban could have probably handled his disdain for today's refs a little better, but he was right most of the time. He'd have loved to be the owner when refs like Mendy Rudolf and Richie Powers ran the floors. Those guys got it right, didn't need 'make up' calls, or 'T' you up right away. If you had a beef, they'd let you go on about it, as long as you didn't say the wrong word. They were well respected by players and coaches alike. Of course, players were more professional in attitude then also, not like what's bouncing up and down the courts these days.

Zeshan
Zeshan

As a Seattle resident/fan, I don't understand how the Sonics aren't Stern's most sanctioned team. He didn't hate anyone or place more.


And as a Seattle resident/fan, Stern, may you go softly into that good-riddance.

Nate the Pate
Nate the Pate

Little midget dictator Stern.  Just like another fat little stub in N Korea.  Criticize his regime and he'll toss you out of his league.  Any wonder why no one qiuestions when the refs make calls in one direction each game? It only takes a very subtle few calls to influence a game since most games are decided by 4 points or less.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

people still care about the NBA?

Hello1813
Hello1813

Funny, I would have guessed Latrell Sprewell to be listed here instead of Kobe.

Nate the Pate
Nate the Pate

David Stern should be investigated for league fixing.  There are too many games that the refs have decided for this to be random.  Somewhere in a Swiss bank account, Stern probably has amassed a large fortune betting on the games.

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

@PhillyPenn il start watching again when the refs dont stop play on every single possession....and flopping is addressed appropriately. Until then its unwatchable 

newshamg
newshamg

@Nate the Pate Not too bright are you? I know the slow of thinking love a good conspiracy theory but just stop.

Nate the Pate
Nate the Pate

@newshamg@Nate the Pate 

Dipschit, this isn't a conspiracy theory.  Just like Tim Donaghey wasn't a conspiracy theory.  I suppose the mafia fixing boxing matches and games and even stocks is a conspiracy too.  Stern has all the power.  All he needs to do is have a few refs willing to go along with it.  Jackholes like you probably thought the WWF was real back then too.

newshamg
newshamg

@TerrapinStation87 @newshamg @Nate the Pate Look, I know uneducated fools want to feel special - but get that feeling somewhere else. Seeing conspiracies everywhere is a weakness of the psyche allied to a failure to understand.