Kobe Bryant, Chris Webber, Jerry Stackhouse, Allen Iverson, Damon Stoudamire, you would think I’m putting together a list of NBA All-Stars, but no, unfortunately it’s the NBA’s most wanted list.
Whether, drugs, or assault charges, or lying to a grand jury, all your favorite NBA superstars seem to be getting more publicity for their time in court then their play on the court. With the highly talked about Kobe situation still making headlines, of course Kobe denies all charges and vows to clear his name, just seeing the poster boy for the NBA being dragged through this must send chills down David Sterns’ spine. When the NBA’s biggest star, Michael Jordan, got in the headlines for reasons other then winning titles, they seemed to be less aggressive charges. Problems with his wife, what marriage doesn’t have these problems, betting on golf, he’s a competitive guy with alot of money to spend. The new breed of NBA stars seem to be a little more harsh, and more visible in the public eye. Iverson who’s well known for his problems with the law has actually been keeping himself out of the police blodder, and had a quiet summer. The same can’t be said for Kobe and his sexual assault allegations, Jerry Stackhouse assault charges, Chris Webber and his problems stemming from receiving money from a U. of Michigan booster, and Stoudamire again being arrested for possession of marijuana. Stoudamire may be the most troubling considering this is the third time in 2 years he’s been arrested on possession charges. The former rookie-of-the-year, had a promising career that started in Toronto, then after demanding a trade to a contender, he landed in Portland and quickly declined in production. Portland Jailblazers as many have deemed them have had problems on and off the court, in addition to Stoudamire, Rasheed Wallace, Bonzi Wells,Ruben Patterson and Qyntel Woods have all been suspended for various drug, assault charges, or on court behavior.
Why are so many players getting in trouble? It seems to be the more money these players get the more they like to experiment, the more people hang around them, and sometimes they just make really bad decisions. When your young and rich, as most NBA stars are, decisions making is not always a top priority, making fast women, fast cars, and a fast high seem like a much more enjoyable route for them. Obviously not all young NBA players are getting in trouble but until things change, the media will continue to give extra coverage to this type of behavior and more scrutiny on a league that is based on it’s players marketability.
What can be done about all this, well I think it’s up to the players. You can fine and suspend them all you want but until these guys accept the fact that they are not above the law and that just because you play in the NBA you can get in trouble. The real disappointing part is that these are big name guys who are role models (like it or not) to millions of kids and while no one expects them to be perfect, their clearly not sending the right message to the young NBA fans.