As with any sport, the NBA has a rich history, full of memorable moments, dominant players and multiple team dynasties, together all shaping how the league looks today.
But with that rich history comes dark patches the NBA would rather never bring up again. Especially when the league was in its infancy, and not the global entity it is today, there were many scandals relating to drug use, violence, and other crimes committed by figures within the NBA that would be better off swept under the rug and never brought into the public eye again, and the NBA does an extremely good job of that.
Regardless, here are 5 dark scandals the NBA wants you to forget.
5. Bison Dele
We're gonna start this list off with a name you may not have heard of before, Bison Dele
Dele, formally known as Kevin Williams, was an NBA role player in the mid 90's, having playing stints with Orlando, Denver, the Clippers, Chicago and Detroit, even winning an NBA title with Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1997.
But suddenly, at the age of 30, after posting a season consisting of 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a game with the Pistons, Dele retired from the NBA in 1999. You may be thinking 'Oh, maybe he was just tired and wanted to focus on something else in his life', which is a perfect excuse, but Dele was due to make $36.45 million over the next five years, being at the time Detroit's highest paid player, which only makes the decision to retire that much stranger.
It was soon revealed that Dele never felt comfortable in his own skin, and dreamed of going off the grid entirely, not speaking to anyone. Some accredit these feelings to having to live in his younger brother's shadow his entire life.
Soon after retiring, Dele purchased a boat and learned how to sail on his own, naming the ship 'Hakuna Matata', from The Lion King, which means 'No Worries'. This was a lifelong dream of Dele's learning how to sail and just enjoying the serenity of the ocean.
Unfortunately though, things took a turn for the worst, as in 2002, Dele, his girlfriend, his brother, and the boat's captain were all declared missing after not reporting back to the mainland during a trip in July. Two days after they were declared missing, Dele's brother, Miles Dabord, brought the boat back to the coast of Tahiti, where the other three passengers were nowhere to be found. It was later found out that Dele, his girlfriend, and the captain were all either killed or forced to walk off the boat in the middle of the ocean, as reported by the FBI. The FBI stated that Dele's brother Miles killed everyone else on board in an attempt to assume his brother's identity, and then come back to shore without anyone noticing.
It was later found out that Dele, his girlfriend, and the captain were all either killed or forced to walk off the boat in the middle of the ocean, as reported by the FBI. The FBI stated that Dele's brother Miles killed everyone else on board in an attempt to assume his brother's identity, and then come back to shore without anyone noticing. Apparently, Miles was always jealous of Bison growing up, and exacted his revenge by murdering everyone on board the Hakuna Matata.
What makes this case even worse, is that the family of Dele or the other two people on board never got justice for what Miles did, as Miles overdosed on insulin, killing himself so he could never be trialed for his crimes.
4. Kevin Johnson
Moving onto number 4, Kevin Johnson is much more well known than Bison Dele, being a 3-time All-Star and one of the most exciting point guards to watch during the 1990's.
Despite all the success and highlights, Johnson has committed some disgusting crimes in his past, especially during the prime of his career.
One of the first reports of his vile behavior comes from 1996, when at the height of his game, Johnson sexually abused then-15-year-old Amanda Koba inside his own home. Johnson was never arrested or charged for this. Wondering why? It's because KJ signed a confidentiality agreement with Koba, worth a whopping $230,600 for her to stay silent about the whole situation and drop the charges against him. Because of this, Koba reportedly stopped eating for years, and lost over 80 pounds, turning her into a shell of her former self.
Due to the fact that Johnson was never charged or punished for his actions, word of the crime never got out to the public, and in 2008, Kevin Johnson was elected as the mayor of Sacramento.
It was later reported by HBO, after interviewing more of his victims, that Johnson used his position of power as mayor of Sacramento to sexually abuse even more women, including two teenagers from St. HOPE, Johnson's charter school in Sac-Town.
In total, 5 women have come forward regarding Johnson's sexual behavior with them in the past, and as of this writing, Kevin has been charged with absolutely nothing.
3. Tony Parker
I bet you weren't banking on seeing a veteran Spur on this list, were you?
Back in 2007, after Parker married actress Eva Longoria, Parker was asked by ESPN: The Magazine about his teammate Brent Barry, to which he replied 'Brent and his wife are like family to Eva and I.' After you hear about what happened between the four, that statement may come off as a little creepy.
During Barry's tenure with the Spurs, his wife Erin and Eva, Parker's wife, became very good friends. They even continued this friendship after Barry had left the team for Houston in 2008. The two couples would often be seen out together during dinner.
It was later revealed that Tony Parker was very interested in Barry's wife Erin, so much so in fact that there's evidence out there that suggests the pair had been having an affair during their marriages. Both Parker and Erin deny this, even though there is solid evidence out there that shows Parker and Erin had been sending sexually explicit texts for months on end, as Parker's wife Eva had found 100's of secret messages on Tony's phone sent to Erin
It was reported that many Spurs players were very angry at Tony over the entire thing, despite how hard the San Antonio organization tried to cover it up. It was so bad in fact that sources report that Gregg Popovich was considering trading Parker due to the distractions he was causing on the team. Wow.
2. Tim Hardaway
Maybe one of the most talented players on this list, Tim Hardaway was one of the best point guards of the 90's, being named to 5 All-Star teams, and running the offense of the exciting 'Run TMC'-era Golden State Warriors. He was so good in fact that many have been campaigning for years for Hardaway to make the Basketball Hall of Fame. Despite this, the committee has never considered putting Hardaway in, and it may be due to this reason.
Back in 2007, former NBA player John Amaechi came out as the first professional basketball player to identify as gay. Dan Le Batard was interviewing Hardaway on his show around the same time as this news came out, and the conversation eventually turned to that topic. Le Batard asked Hardaway "How do you deal with a gay teammate?" to which Tim replied, "I wouldn't want him on my team, second of all, if he was on my team, I'd really distance myself from him... I'll let it be known, I hate gay people."
As you'd expect, the NBA and media around the league were not very happy about this. Pat Riley, Hardaway's former coach had this to say.
"Yes, I was shocked by some of the words that he used. It's a tough subject to talk about if you're not really thinking about it a lot. It's one-sided. But I was a little bit shocked by some of the words he used."
When then-commissioner David Stern got word of the news, he banned Hardaway from the All-Star weekend festivities in Las Vegas that year.
Thankfully though, this story does end on a happy note, unlike the others on this list, as Tim Hardaway is now a strong advocate for Gay Rights in America.
"It hurts me to this day what I said, and you know what? It's going to hurt me for the rest of my life, because I'm not that type of person. I feel bad about it, and I'm always going to feel bad about it." - Tim Hardaway.
1. Donald Sterling
C'mon, you knew this one was coming.
One of the most recent scandals, and probably the most-publicized in NBA history, Donald Sterling, then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was outed as a massive racist in 2014.
All you need to know about Sterling's character can be taken from an interaction Sterling had with former Clippers GM and Laker legend Elgin Baylor.
"Baylor alleged Sterling said he wanted the Clippers to be 'composed of poor black boys from the South and a white head coach.'"
I'm fairly certain you can make a judgment on what type of person Donald Sterling was just from that sentence.
Sterling had been an owner of the Los Angeles Clippers since 1981, and it has been reported that his plainly racist thinking wasn't a secret among the people that associated with him, as he was not only openly racist to his friends and colleagues, but in 2006, the US Department of Justice sued Sterling to the tune of $2.75 million after her refused to rent out properties he owned to African-Americans. The NBA definitely knew about Sterling's racist nature and refused to do nothing.
Most of the blame for this lack of action can be pointed towards David Stern however, as when Adam Silver became NBA Commissioner, one of the first orders of business was ousting Sterling as the Clippers owner.
This however still took time, as in 2014, a secret phone call was exposed by TMZ, with Sterling being recorded, telling his mistress to "not bring black people to his games", and complaining about an Instagram post of herself and Magic Johnson. This led to a very vocal outrage from everyone associated with the NBA, including players, other owners, and the media. Only then did the league take action. Silver banned Sterling from the NBA for life, and fined him a whopping $2.5 million.