Being a professional athlete in current times offers many perks. He is often rich beyond imagination, well respected for his talents, usually accompanied by one or more attractive ladies, and will make his way from nightspot to nightspot in some form of super car or gaudy sports utility vehicle.
With that said, it has been easy to criticize the sometimes questionable behavior of these pampered, spoiled, delusional sports figures. We cannot forget the now infamous quote during the 1998 NBA lockout where one Patrick Ewing, center for the New York Knicks, remarked, “People just don’t understand, we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot of money”. This was followed up by another NBA star, Kenny Anderson who stated, “If this keeps up much longer, I may have to sell one of my cars”.
Above and beyond the boorish quotes and arrogant attitudes lies another spectrum reserved for the professional athlete. These are the guys who have taken their perceived entitlement to another level by committing offenses with the expectation that no harm will come their way. They are the Mike Tyson's of the sports world who are not afraid to go after what they want, sometimes violently at the expense of their victims. While Mike did face the music with a prison stint for his crimes, he is back on top of the world once again with a hit Broadway show and a successful reality documentary. How quickly we forget about Mike threatening to an opponent's children.
Unfortunately for society, Mike is not alone in his exploits nor his subsequent successes. We have compiled a list of 5 professional athletes who have been charged with crimes that would spell major trouble for the average person, but instead have gotten off with the proverbial slap on the wrist along with our forgiveness.
5 Allen Iverson: Gun Charges
Beginning our list at #5 is the legendary and often misunderstood NBA guard, Allen Iverson. It is no secret that Mr. Iverson was one of the baddest of the bad in the NBA. He was a cut throat defender and spared no one as he bullied his way to the hoop for 2 of his eventual 24,368 career points. However, the Answer was also known for his bullying ways off the court. On July 12th, 2002, the All Star Point Guard was charged with a slew of crimes that would make any self-respecting thug proud. According to The NY Times, a late-night argument with his wife which ended with her being booted from their mansion naked as the day she was born, Mr. Iverson, accompanied by his uncle for some familial support, went to an apartment where he forced his way in, gun in waistband, and threatened the two men inside in an attempt to find the whereabouts of his beloved wife.
According to sources, after his trial, Iverson saw almost all of the charges against him thrown out. He then went on to finish out a successful career earning millions more in NBA salary.
4 The Athlete Formally Known as Ron Artest: Malace at the Palace, Domestic Violence
Coming in at #4 on our list is the athlete formally known as Ron Artest. During a hotly contested game in 2004 between the Indiana Pacers and the always affable Detroit Pistons, a shoving match ensued involving Artest, and the defensive giant, Ben Wallace. Unfortunately for both players, things progressed for the worst and before anyone knew it, the Malace at the Palace was born. This simple shoving match turned into an all-out melee with players, coaches, and even the fans getting involved. Ron and another Indiana Pacer made their way up into the stands to put a beat down on some unscrupulous fanatics for throwing drinks. The end result was a disgrace of epic proportion for the NBA and a trial and guilty verdict for Mr. Artest and his teammate. USA Today reported that “Each pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery and were sentenced to probation and community service”.
In addition, on May 3rd, 2007, the athlete formally known as Ron Artest decided not to use his words as young children are taught, and instead felt it better to throw his physical weight around. According to ESPN, in the early morning hours, the ironically named Ron “Metta World Peace” Artest got into it with his wife, Kimsha. One thing led to another and before she knew it, Mrs. Metta World Peace was flying towards the ground with the help of her 6’7”, 260 pound better half. She was also denied her constitutional right to call 911. “Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest was arrested Monday and excused indefinitely from the team after a woman said he shoved her to the floor inside his home and prevented her from calling 911”. Artest then pleaded no contest and was given community service and a whopping $600 fine for his indiscretions, once more, according to ESPN.
Since his run-ins with fans, his significant other, and the authorities, the athlete formally known at Ron Artest has gone on to successfully play for other teams, earned millions more in salary, and even won a championship in 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers where he was a fan favorite.
3 3. Jason Kidd: Spousal Abuse, DUI
Veteran NBA point guard and newly minted head coach of the trendy and hipster favorite Brooklyn Nets has assured himself a first ballot hall of fame spot upon his retirement. During his career, he has dropped in an impressive 17,529 points and garnered a reputation as one of the best defenders to ever lace up the high tops. However, Mr. Kidd has also garnered some not so prestigious honors that make him #3 on our list.
Jason, like many of us, has had some marital issues. His relationship with his wife Joumana has at times been more a kin to a night at the Garden for some WWE than the idealized romantic dream of many a trophy wife. The Smoking Gun reported that, “In January 2001, Kidd was arrested in Arizona for punching Joumana in the mouth during an argument. He later took an assault plea and was ordered to attend anger management classes.” In a separate statement, Joumana alleges that, “Kidd has engaged in extramarital affairs with ‘several different television reporters,’ as well as strippers in Arizona, Sacramento, Miami, Dallas and Indiana, a Nets season ticket holder, a Nets employee, and a cheerleader in New Orleans.”
Jason has proven to be an accomplished player both on and off the court; however, not so much can be said for his driving skills. According to USA Today, on the evening of July 15th 2012, after knocking down a few at the local Hampton’s bar, the ten-time All Star slammed his Cadillac Escalade into a pole and from the looks of the accident; he is lucky to have walked away with only a few bumps and bruises. USA Today then reported that “Kidd was charged with a DWI after he ran his SUV into a telephone poll”. The penalties for the impromptu demolition derby; a year’s probation and a hang with some Long Island high school students to help them better understand the dangers of being an irresponsible, mega rich athlete who has no problem putting his and others lives in danger because a call to a cab was just too much effort.
Evidently the Brooklyn Nets felt that Mr. Kidd has matured and put all of his erratic behavior behind him when they handed down his punishment of an entire 2 game suspension at the beginning of the season. It was also announced this week that he was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for January, 2014 by the NBA.
2 2. Kobe Bryant: Sexual Assault Charges
Not only does Kobe Bryant have the honor of remaining in the conversation as the top 2nd or 3rd player in the history of the game, but he also lands at #2 on our list. On June 30th 2003, Michael Jordan's heir apparent checked into a hotel in Colorado where he struck up a conversation with the female desk clerk. Evidently Kobe is quite the charmer as she ended up in his hotel room shortly afterwards and depending on whom you believe, Kobe and the young lady either enjoyed a wonderfully romantic evening of consensual sex, or non-consensual; leading to charges.
What followed was a year-long spectacle that had all of the bells and whistles of high priced lawyers, questionable reporting, and a scandalous tone that could make even Hugh Hefner blush. According to The Washington Post, the end result was a woman who suddenly came to the decision that pressing charges against the NBA megastar was not in the best decision for her; she settled for an undisclosed amount not too long after the criminal charges were dismissed.
While Kobe lost millions in endorsements and watched the sales of his jersey disappear, he would not have to suffer for long. In the face of the allegations, the Lakers would sign #24 to a seven year deal worth $136 million. The Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak made the statement that “Bryant's legal problems have nothing to do with the team's decision to re-sign Bryant”. The Laker legend would go on to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010, and enjoy a return of his popularity to pre-rape allegation status.
1 Ray Lewis: Attempted Murder Charge
It takes someone special to earn the top spot on our list, an honor reserved for the great Ray Lewis. On the night of the Super Bowl in 2002, Lewis, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, along with his entourage of friends was at the Cobalt Club in Atlanta. According to various sources, a fight broke out between someone in Ray's group and another group of guys. The end result was two men who lay dying in the street from stab wounds, and Lewis and two of his friends facing murder charges. Besides the homicide accusations, there were also allegations that Lewis attempted to destroy evidence and cover up the crime. As it turns out however, the linebacker did not have much to worry about. According to The New York Post, “The Ravens were standing firmly behind him. Lewis’ own private investigators beat the cops to just about every witness in the limo; they all got lawyers. His driver, Fassett, became increasingly unsure of what went down that night”.
Lewis, after all, was a Pro Bowler with a $26 million contract and one of the NFL’s up and coming stars in the making. The end result was that Lewis, in exchange for reduced charges, testified against his two co-defendants who were subsequently acquitted. At the end of the day, neither Lewis, nor his friends ended up in prison, and Lewis continued to shine in the NFL.
Fast forward to 2013 where Ray Lewis ended his career with another Superbowl win for the Ravens along with the adoration of just about everyone around. According to Sports Illustrated, “Lewis will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in five years and is considered a lock. It’s widely rumored that ESPN wants to hire him as a color commentator, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he wants to hire Lewis as a special adviser, citing him as a ‘tremendous voice of reason.’”
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheRichest?Get Your Free Access Now!