10) Camby clocks own coach (1/15/2001) Jeff Van Gundy just can’t win. After Spurs forward Danny Ferry poked Knicks center Marcus Camby in the eye, Camby retaliated. But Camby missed — and sort of knocked his own coach out instead.
9) Bynum picks on Barea (5/8/2011) Few playoff fouls have been more lopsided than this bush-league forearm. Lakers center Andrew Bynum had had enough of Mavericks guard J.J. Barea running circles around his team. So he decked Barea, got ejected and the Lakers were booted out of the playoffs.
8) Horry hip-checks Nash (5/14/2007) During Game 4 of the Conference Semifinals, Spurs forward Robert Horry body checked the Suns’ Steve Nash into the scorer’s table. Amare Stoudemire would be suspended for Game 5 for leaving the team’s bench — the Suns would lose the series in six.
7) Ainge takes down the ‘Tree’ (4/24/1983) Celtics guard Danny Ainge didn’t really care if you were bigger than him. During the ’83 Playoffs against Atlanta, Ainge tackled Hawks center Tree Rollins. Rollins didn’t stay down, opting to bite Ainge’s fingers. Ouch.
6) Rodman kicks cameraman (1/15/1997) Dennis Rodman was kept mostly in check during his three-year title-winning tenure as a Bull. A too-close encounter with the press row while falling out of bounds led Rodman to kick a cameraman where it hurts. Rodman was suspended 11 games without pay.
5) Jabbar breaks Benson’s Jaw (10/18/1977) Bucks’ rookie center Kurt Benson delivered a quick and dirty elbow to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s gut in the opening game of the regular season. Jabbar retaliated, squaring up and breaking Benson’s jaw with a shot that even broke his own hand.
4) Van Gundy holds on for life (4/30/1998) What was Jeff Van Gundy thinking? All 5’9, 150 pounds of the Knicks’ coach decided to break up a brawl between his team and Miami Heat players by hanging onto 7’0 Heat center Alonzo Mourning. Van Gundy…lost.
3) McHale clotheslines Rambis (6/6/1984) With one back-breaking clothesline, Kevin McHale turned the ’84 Finals into a near-wrestling spectacle. McHale took out Lakers forward Kurt Rambis on a fast-break dunk attempt; the move gave the term ‘bad blood’ a whole new meaning.
2) Malice at the Palace (11/19/2004) To think NBA players would fight fans during a game sounds far-fetched – except this time it actually happened. A fight between Pistons and Pacers players erupted on the court and eventually led to several Pacer players spilling into the stands – most notably Ron Artest.
1) The Punch. (12/9/1977) A regular season match-up turned ugly when Lakers forward Kermit Washington clocked Rockets captain Rudy Tomjanovich right in the face. Teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Tomjanovich falling sounded like a “melon hitting the floor.”
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A playoff-like Lakers Thunder match-up took a more serious turn Sunday, after Metta World Peace rocked James Harden with an elbow ‘heard round the world. World Peace, who changed his name from Ron Artest back in September of 2011, will most likely get suspended for part of the playoffs. The league is expected to make an announcement on Thursday. World Peace has quite a history of both flagrant and technical fouls, altercations and overall bizarre behavior — most notably 2004’s Malice at the Palace, which led to World Peace’s suspension for the remainder of the ‘04-05 season.
World Peace’s elbow left Harden with a concussion and an Oklahoma City Thunder team concerned about Harden’s future as the playoffs get underway. The Thunder, who have made it clear that Harden’s health is their top priority, will put the frontrunner for the league’s Sixth-Man of the Year Award through a serious of rigorous tests once he’s considered free of concussion symptoms.
World Peace’s elbow was hard to watch — but it certainly isn’t the first time NBA players have given new meaning to the term ‘hard foul’. TheGrio takes a look at ten other incidents which made fans both cringe and, in some cases, run for cover.