Leagues like the NFL and NHL are known for their in-game fighting. But when it happens in the NBA it’s often much more intense, and brutal. Unlike those other sports, basketball players don’t wear pads and helmets. There’s no equipment that acts like a coat of armor. It’s just a bare-knuckled all-out brawl, often involving many players at once. Plus, most of these guys are from the hood – so you know it’s gonna get ugly. And with that; here’s the top 10 NBA fights of all time.
Alonzo Mourning vs Larry Johnson
This one starts our list off because Alonzo and Larry started both their careers in Charlotte as teammates and good friends. But in the midst of the 1998 playoffs, where Alonzo was playing for the heat, and Larry, for the Knicks – tensions snapped in the fourth quarter. Alonzo Mourning took issue with Larry Johnson’s physical play and swung at him, which ended up turning into an all-out brawl.
Kobe Bryant vs Chris Childs
The fight that took place between Kobe Bryant and Chris Childs in the mid-2000’s is burned into many a fans memories – not because it involved superstar and hall-of-famer Kobe Bryant. But because Chris threw a one-two combo at Kobe that showed the world he can really box!
Kevin McHale vs Kurt Rambis
Back in the 80’s, NBA fights looked less like boxing matches and more like WWE wrestling ones. Here’s proof with Celtics great, Kevin McHale as he clothes lines Lakers back-up, Kurt Rambis, which initiated and violent brawl between the two teams.
Robert Horry vs Steve Nash
During the 2004 playoffs between the Suns and the Spurs, Robert Horry became confused as to which sport he was playing as he hip-checked Steve Nash into the boards on the sideline – splitting his nose and lip. Seconds later, a fight ensued.
Bulls vs Knicks
This is not the first time a brawl broke out in the NBA. But during the 1994 playoffs between the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks – it was the first time a brawl broke out right in front of NBA commissioner David Stern, which led to the “No Leaving The Bench” rule instated thereafter.
Shaq vs Chuck
This is by far the most re-watched fight of all-time, as both Shaq and Charles Barkley now work side-by-side on The NBA On TNT. The image of Chuck bouncing the ball off of Shaq’s head to instigate the fight is comical at best because as everyone knows, Barkley – nor anyone else – stands a chance against Shaq in a fight.
The Battles Of Charles’
Here Chuck’s is at it again – this time, in 1996 against an even tougher opponent than Shaq. While Charles Oakley is half Shaq’s size, he is far and away known as one of the toughest “Do Not Mess With” NBA players of all-time. Anyone that remembers this fight can recall how Barkley wanted nothing of Oakley, and Oakley, slapping Barkley in the face before walking off.
Denver vs New York Brawl
When it comes to brawls, no one tops the Knicks. If only they won as many championships as fights. Nevertheless, this brawl between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks back in 2006 saw a record seven players suspended for 47 games – all because the brawl left the court into the stands.
Dr. J vs Larry Bird
Larry Bird is one of the NBA’s all-time best players. Probably top ten. But back in 1984, he was still making a name for himself. And he decided to do so against another top ten hall-of-famer by the name of Julius Erving. After the fight, Larry not just earned himself a reputation as a dangerous threat from 3-point land, but also, as someone not to be messed with.
Malice At The Palace
The Palace of Auburn Hills is home to the Detroit Pistons. But, it’s also home to the biggest brawl – not just in the NBA – but in sports history, simply known as the “Malice At The Palace”. Featuring NBA tough guys Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neil, Ben Wallace, and Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace), this all-out brawl not just went into the stands, but involved the fans as well. It was a brawl that saw a record 9 player suspension for a total of 146 games, criminal charges were laid, an NBA alcohol limit instituted, and more security at games from then on out.