List of players banned or suspended by the NBA

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Under Article 35 of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Constitution, the NBA commissioner has the power to hand down disciplinary actions (either suspension or fines less than $50,000) on players for on-court incidents, conducts that do not conform to standards of fair play, conducts that do not comply to federal or state laws, and conducts that are 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 the regular-season games for bringing firearms into an arena and drawing them during a dispute.

Permanently banned

Name Team Year Season Reason
Beard, RalphRalph Beard Indianapolis Olympians 1951 1951–52 In 1951, Beard and teammate Alex Groza were banned permanently when it was revealed that they had shaved points while playing in college.4
Groza, AlexAlex Groza Indianapolis Olympians 1951 1951–52 In 1951, Groza and teammate Ralph Beard were banned permanently when it was revealed that they had shaved points while playing in college.4
Mager, NormNorm Mager Baltimore Bullets 1951 1950–51 In 1951, Mager was banned permanently when it was revealed that he had shaved points while playing in college.4
Roth, AlvinAlvin Roth 1951 1950–51 In 1951, Roth, a City College of New York player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point shaving scandal.5
Spivey, BillBill Spivey 1951 In 1951, Spivey, a University of Kentucky player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point shaving scandal.6
Warner, EdEd Warner 1951 In 1951, Warner, a City College of New York player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point shaving scandal.7
White, ShermanSherman White 1951 In 1951, White, a Long Island University player, was banned permanently for his involvement in the CCNY point shaving scandal.8
Molinas, JackJack Molinas Detroit Pistons 1954 1953–54 On January 10, 1954, Molinas was banned permanently for betting on his own team while playing in college.4
Brown, RogerRoger Brown 1966 Brown was banned permanently for his association with gambler Jack Molinas. He went on to play in the American Basketball Association (ABA).9
Drew, JohnJohn Drew 1986 In January 1986, Drew was banned permanently for repeatedly violating NBA's substance abuse policy.10
Washburn, ChrisChris Washburn Atlanta Hawks 1989 In June 1989, Washburn was banned permanently after three positive drug tests.1112
Tarpley, RoyRoy 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.13
Dumas, RichardRichard Dumas Phoenix Suns 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 tested positive for a banned substance and failing to participate in a drug rehabilitation program.14 After two years, he was reinstated and was subsequently banned for violating a clause in his contract which prohibited him from consuming alcohol.15

Permanently banned but later reinstated

Name Team Year Season Reason
Hawkins, ConnieConnie 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.1617
Richardson, Micheal RayMicheal 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 1988.18
Lloyd, LewisLewis 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.19 Lloyd was reinstated on September 8, 1989.20
Wiggins, MitchellMitchell Wiggins Houston Rockets 1987 1986–87 On January 13, 1987, Wiggins and teammate Lewis Lloyd were banned permanently after testing positive for cocaine, a banned substance.19 Wiggins was reinstated on July 28, 1989.3
Washington, DuaneDuane Washington New Jersey Nets 1988 1988–89 In October 1988, Washington was banned permanently after testing positive for cocaine, a banned substance.21 He was later reinstated, and played briefly for the Clippers in the 1992–93 season.22
Roberts, StanleyStanley Roberts Philadelphia 76ers 1999 1999–00 On November 25, 1999, Roberts was banned permanently after testing positive for a banned substance.23 He was reinstated three years later in 2003.24
Andersen, ChrisChris Andersen New Orleans Hornets 2006 2005–06 On January 25, 2006, Andersen was banned permanently for violating NBA's substance abuse policy. He subsequently filed a grievance against the NBA, but an arbitrator denied his request in March 2006.25 He was reinstated two years later on March 4, 2008.26

Suspended

Length Name Team Year Season Reason
86 games
(including playoffs)
Artest, RonRon Artest
(now Metta World Peace)
Indiana Pacers 2004 2004–05 On November 20, 2004, Artest was suspended indefinitely by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Pacers–Pistons brawl. On the following day, the length of his suspension was determined to last for the remainder of the season; a suspension which eventually totaled 86 games (73 regular season and 13 playoff games).27
68 games
(originally set to be 82 games)
Sprewell, LatrellLatrell Sprewell Golden State Warriors 1997 1997–98 On December 1, 1997, Sprewell attacked and threatened then-Warriors head coach P. J. Carlesimo during team practice. He was immediately suspended ten games by the Warriors. However, the Warriors terminated Sprewell's $23.7 million contract two days later and he was subsequently suspended for a year (82 games) by NBA commissioner David Stern. Sprewell took the case to arbitration, and as a result, the termination of his contract was overturned and his suspension was reduced to 68 games.2829
50 games Arenas, GilbertGilbert Arenas Washington Wizards 2010 2009–10 On January 27, 2010, Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton were suspended for the remainder of the season by NBA commissioner David Stern for violating league rules and Washington, D.C. laws against bringing firearms into an arena.30 Arenas was previously suspended indefinitely on January 6. They reportedly stored unloaded firearms in their lockers and drew guns on each other during an argument regarding gambling debts back in December 2009.31
38 games Crittenton, JavarisJavaris Crittenton Washington Wizards 2010 2009–10 On January 27, 2010, Crittenton and teammate Gilbert Arenas were suspended for the remainder of the season by NBA commissioner David Stern for violating NBA rules and Washington, D.C. laws against bringing firearms into an arena.30 They reportedly stored unloaded firearms in their lockers and drew guns on each other during an argument regarding gambling debts back in December 2009.31
30 games Jackson, StephenStephen Jackson Indiana Pacers 2004 2004–05 On November 20, 2004, Jackson was suspended indefinitely by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Pacers–Pistons brawl. On the following day, the length of his suspension was determined to be 30 games.27
26 games Washington, KermitKermit Washington Los Angeles Lakers 1977 1977–78 On December 9, 1977, Washington punched Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich in the face during an NBA game. Tomjanovich was seriously injured and missed the rest of the season. Washington was subsequently fined $10,000 and suspended 26 games by the NBA.3233
15 games
(originally set to be 25 games)
O'Neal, JermaineJermaine O'Neal Indiana Pacers 2004 2004–05 On November 20, 2004, O'Neal was suspended indefinitely by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Pacers–Pistons brawl. On the following day, the length of his suspension was determined to be 25 games.27 Upon appeal, his suspension was reduced to 15 games.34
15 games Anthony, CarmeloCarmelo Anthony Denver Nuggets 2006 2006–07 On December 20, 2006, Anthony was suspended 15 games by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Knicks–Nuggets brawl.35
11 games Rodman, DennisDennis Rodman Chicago Bulls 1997 1996–97 On January 15, 1997, Rodman kicked courtside cameraman Eugene Amos in the groin after tripping over him during an NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Several days later, he was fined $25,000 and suspended 11 games.363738
10 games Maxwell, VernonVernon Maxwell Houston Rockets 1995 1995–96 On February 6, 1995, Maxwell entered the stands and punched a fan during an NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Three days later, he was fined $20,000 and suspended ten games.39
10 games Smith, J. R.J. R. Smith Denver Nuggets 2006 2006–07 On December 20, 2006, Smith was suspended ten games by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Knicks–Nuggets brawl.35
10 games Robinson, NateNate Robinson New York Knicks 2006 2006–07 On December 20, 2006, Robinson was suspended ten games by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Knicks–Nuggets brawl.35
10 games Hunter, LindseyLindsey Hunter Detroit Pistons 2007 2006–07 On March 7, 2007, Hunter was suspended ten games after testing positive for phentermine, a banned substance.40
10 games Miles, DariusDarius Miles Boston Celtics 2008 2008–09 On September 20, 2008, Miles was suspended ten games for violating NBA's drug policy at the end of the 2007–08 season.41
10 games Lewis, RashardRashard Lewis Orlando Magic 2009 2009–10 On August 6, 2009, Lewis was suspended ten games for violating NBA's drug policy.42
10 games West, DelonteDelonte West Boston Celtics 2010 2010–11 On August 20, 2010, West was suspended ten games after he pleaded guilty to weapon charges in September 2009. He served the suspension in the first ten games of the season.43
10 games Mayo, O. J.O. J. Mayo Memphis Grizzlies 2011 2010–11 On January 27, 2011, Mayo was suspended ten games for violating NBA's drug policy.44
8 games Webber, ChrisChris 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 after he pleaded 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.45
7 games Van Exel, NickNick Van Exel Los Angeles Lakers 1996 1995–96 On April 10, 1996, Van Exel shoved referee Ron Garretson into the scorer's table after Garretson ejected him for arguing a call during an NBA game against the Denver Nuggets. On the following day, he was fined $25,000 and suspended seven games.46
7 games Wallace, RasheedRasheed Wallace Portland Trail Blazers 2003 2002–03 On January 15, 2003, Wallace confronted and threatened former referee Tim Donaghy at the parking lot outside of the Rose Garden after an NBA game against Memphis Grizzlies. Several days later, he was suspended seven games.47
7 games Artest, RonRon Artest
(now Metta World Peace)
Sacramento Kings 2007 2007–08 On July 15, 2007, Artest was suspended seven games after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in May. He served the suspension in the first seven games of the season.48
7 games Jackson, StephenStephen Jackson Golden State Warriors 2007 2007–08 On July 15, 2007, Jackson was suspended seven games after he pleaded guilty to a felony for firing a gun outside of an Indiana strip club last year. He served the suspension in the first seven games of the season.48
7 games Smith, J. R.J. R. Smith Denver Nuggets 2009 2009–10 On August 28, 2009, Smith was suspended seven games after he pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge for a 2007 auto accident that resulted in the death of a passenger. He was already suspended two games right after the accident.49
7 games World Peace, MettaMetta World Peace
(formerly Ron Artest)
Los Angeles Lakers 2012 2011–12 On April 24, 2012, World Peace was suspended seven games for elbowing James Harden in the head.50
6 games Rodman, DennisDennis Rodman Chicago Bulls 1996 1995–96 On March 18, 1996, Rodman head-butted referee Ted Bernhardt during an NBA game against the New Jersey Nets and was immediately ejected. On the following day, he was fined $20,000 and suspended six games.3851
6 games
(originally set to be 10 games)
Taylor, MauriceMaurice Taylor Houston Rockets 2003 2003–04 On November 8, 2003, Taylor was suspended a minimum of ten games for violating NBA's substance abuse policy.52 After the National Basketball Players Association filed a grievance over the penalty, the league reduced his suspension to six games.53
6 games Wallace, BenBen Wallace Detroit Pistons 2004 2004–05 On November 20, 2004, Wallace was suspended indefinitely by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Pacers–Pistons brawl. On the following day, the length of his suspension was determined to be six games.27
6 games Mbenga, D. J.D. J. Mbenga Dallas Mavericks 2006 2005–06 On June 2, 2006, Mbenga was suspended six games by NBA commissioner David Stern for going into the stands to aid the wife of coach Avery Johnson, who was involved in a confrontation with fans.54
6 games Collins, MardyMardy Collins New York Knicks 2006 2006–07 On December 20, 2006, Collins was suspended six games by NBA commissioner David Stern for his involvement in the Knicks–Nuggets brawl.35

See also

References

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