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The NBA has had a lot of tough guys on its courts since the very first day the league started, as everybody knows most ballers grow up in poor environments and have to overcome a lot of difficulties before reaching stardom.

So, even if most of those guys stay away from trouble when they reach the greatest league in competitive basketball, others still go through life as if they were in the hood, or just believe they are free to do whatever they want because they have a lot of money.

Having said that, we’ll get a look at the top 10 NBA players that did some jail time over the course of the years.


J.R. Smith

Credit: Getty Images

Unlike most of NBA’s bad boys, JR Smith grew up in a loving family and actually had some cash to spend, but he developed into the ultimate spoiled brat when he made some more cash for himself. So, Smith, being a diehard party boy as he is, had to serve 90 days during his time with the Nuggets, as the shooting guard was the driver in a deadly accident that took one of his friend’s lives, also serving 500 hours of community service.


Delonte West

It’s really really sad to watch Delonte West nowadays, as the former NBA point guard is practically homeless and an alcoholic. On top of that, when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he did way more than just fooling around with LeBron’s mom, as the guard had to serve eight months of home detention, a couple of months of probation and 40 hours of community service due to two weapon charges.


Kyle Lowry

Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

During the infamous lockout, Lowry played in a charity game in Vegas but wound up serving some hours of community service due to severe misconduct, as the Toronto Raptors point guard verbally abused a female referee and even threw the ball at her because he got mad at some of the calls she made. C’mon man, that’s pretty competitive for a guy that disappears as soon as his team reaches the playoffs.


Charles Barkley

Barkley is one of the most iconic and peculiar guys the sport has ever seen, and of course that doesn’t always go well with the law or public order. Known as a diehard gambler and way more than a social drinker, Barkley had several encounters with law enforcement and some assault charges for off-court fighting, something that wouldn’t impress anybody considering this is a guy that actually spat at fans during his time in the league.


Ben Wallace

If you take a look at Ben Wallace for a couple of seconds, you’d definitely expect him to be an ex-convicted felon, as this guy is scary as hell. So, Wallace was yet another victim of the lockout, as cops found a weapon in his car while doing a routine search, as they suspected Wallace was driving under the influence. For this incident, the former Piston had to pay a lot of cash in fines, as well as serving a year of probation and 30 hours of community service.


Ty Lawson

Lawson is pretty much a disaster, and he’s had a lot of altercations with the law, being arrested no less than 4 times between the years of 2013 and 2015. He’s had detentions for not showing up to citations, being charged with physical harassment and even DUIs. Just think of a crime, and Lawson’s likely to have committed it, completely wasting his career despite being one of the most talented playmakers in the league.

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Allen Iverson

Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Iverson was a superstar even before making his first appearance on an NBA court due to his outstanding talent in both basketball and football, but he was widely known due to an incident at a bowling alley that ended up in a huge brawl, with Iverson having to serve time and put his career on hold. Afterward, he had a lot of arrests for minor felonies, DUI’s, speeding and even gun charges, but he’s managed to stay in front of the bars instead of behind them.


Jason Kidd

Credit: Getty Images

Way back then in 2001, Jason Kidd made the highlights once again, but this time because of his conviction. The current boss of the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the most talented point guards in NBA history was charged with abusing his wife, having to pay some fines and even being forced to undergo anger management classes. On top of that, several years after the incident, it was actually Kidd that filed a restraining order against his wife.


Ron Artest

Of course, you can’t have a thug list in the NBA without the presence of Metta World Peace/Panda Friend/Ron Artest, one of the ultimate defenders in basketball history, but also one of the ultimate badasses in the history of the sport. Artest was convicted for his participation in the Malice in the Palace brawl, but afterward, he was also charged with assault and abuse to his spouse, as well as having to undergo therapy to manage his anger and pay a lot of money in fines.


Shawn Kemp

Kemp was one of the most impressive, explosive and strongest guys in NBA history, but he was also a classic thug. The Seattle standout was convicted for several incidents with drugs and weapons, starting a self-destructive spiral that kicked him out of the league and even sent him broke after being one of the greatest players in his prime.

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