- Sometimes, an NBA player will try and get a leg up on the competition by cheating
- These 10 players were caught on camera cheating
- J.R. Smith once stopped playing mid-game to hug Jason Terry
The NBA gives fans a glimpse at the best basketball players in the world. Sometimes, though, a player might try and cheat to get a leg up on the competition.
Oftentimes, when a player attempts to get over on their opponent, it gets caught on camera. This makes their act even more terrible, as they possibly could face a fine or suspension.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the biggest NBA “crimes” caught on camera. Which player has cheated the worst on camera?
10. Draymond Green
When the name Draymond Green is mentioned, most would assume Green has committed the worst type of cheating known to man. This is because of his brash trash-talking, sometimes kicking his opponents, style of play.
But when we really dive into Green’s cheating, which was caught on TV, it’s not really that egregious, but he does tend to do it a lot. When players are at the free throw line, coaches will call their players over to discuss their next play in a quick huddle-up.
While this happens, Green has a tendency to sneak into his opponents’ huddle and listen in on the game plan. Green is not the only player to do it, but he’s likely the most famous, as mentioned earlier, he tends to do it a lot.
9. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo is a 2x NBA champion and one of the best passers in the NBA over the last decade plus. He’s also a savvy cheater, using tactics to try to disrupt his opponents.
This was no more true than in a 2018 playoff game when Rondo was a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, and they played the Golden State Warriors. Draymond Green was at the free throw line, and after his first attempt, Rondo grabbed the ball.
After Rondo grabbed the ball, he proceeded to swipe the ball on his forehead, getting his sweat all over the ball. Rondo’s Pelicans trailed 119-113 with 28 seconds left.
So, Rondo had to do something to help his team get back into the game, but wiping sweat over the ball is a disgusting way to go. Also, it didn’t work, as Green made the free throw, and the Warriors won 121-116.
8. Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings was a solid player for the Milwaukee Bucks, as he once averaged 19.1 points per game during a season.
One of Jennings’s best attributes was his free throw shooting, as he shot a career 79.6% from the charity stripe, including being an 81.8% free throw shooter during a 2010 game where the Bucks were playing the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets committed a foul on Andrew Bogut, who was only 59.4% free throw shooter at the time, and the Bucks trailed the Rockets 77-68 with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter.
Even though Bogut was fouled, Jennings casually walked to the free-throw line, and he nailed the first shot. Everything appeared to be normal until a few of the Rockets players began to complain about who should be shooting the ball.
The referees stopped Jennings from attempting his second free throw and came together to get it right, sending Bogut to the line. Unfortunately for the Bucks, Bogut missed both free throws.
It’s safe to say Brandon Jennings tried to cheat in the middle of the game on live TV but was caught. Only after getting one free throw shot, though.
7. Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard is an accomplished former NBA player, desperate to make it back to the league. Among his achievements, Howard is a 3x NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner and an NBA champion.
But despite all of this success, this didn’t stop Howard from getting caught cheating on live TV. In a 2016 game vs. the Atlanta Hawks, Paul Millsap went to the free-throw line.
Howard, who was on the bench, entered the game and immediately asked the referee if he could see the ball before Millsap received it. Howard then rubbed the ball and handed it back to the referee, who gave it to Millsap.
After receiving the ball, Millsap started to get into his free throw routine when he noticed something sticky on the ball. He immediately threw it back to the referee.
It turns out Howard sprayed Stickum on the ball to try and disrupt Millsap’s free throw attempt. Luckily for Howard, he wasn’t suspended for his act, but he was certainly caught “sticky-handed” on live TV.
6. The Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers once cheated on live TV back in a 2020 game against the Chicago Bulls. Now, there’s some debate about if this tactic was accidental by the 76ers or on purpose.
Still, the 76ers performed this play on live TV, which was having six players on the floor at once; you are only allowed five on a team. The Bulls followed the rules, which is why they struggled to defend the 76ers’ offense.
Furkan Korkmaz hit an open three, but the Bulls players quickly protested the made basket. While Korkmaz was getting ready to drill his three, Kyle O’Quinn of the 76ers attempted to sneak off the court, trying to make it a five-on-five game.
This didn’t work, as the referees waved the basket, and the 76ers were assessed a technical foul. It was a vain attempt by the 76ers, one that came up a bit short.
5. Jared Dudley
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Jared Dudley is mostly known for his time playing alongside LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2019-20 to 2020-21 seasons. Dudley is a championship winner, as his 2020 Lakers won the Bubble title in Orlando.
Because Dudley is a champion, he must be a smart player, right? This was proven true when Dudley, a member of the Phoenix Suns at the time, pulled off the biggest heist on live TV against the Lakers and got away with it.
Dudley, who is 6’6″, was matched up against 7’0″ center Andrew Bynum in a jump ball scenario during a game back in 2009. Dudley, who would be the first to admit he has no jumping ability, decided to “steal” the jump ball.
As the referee threw the ball up, Bynum jumped and easily won the tip, especially since Dudley didn’t make an attempt at the ball. Instead, once Bynum tipped the ball, Dudley ran past the Lakers’ center, grabbed the ball, and threw it ahead to a teammate, who was fouled on the play.
The Lakers were furious and processed Dudley’s move, as a player in a jump ball situation is not allowed to perform such a move. Despite this, the referees did not overturn the play, thus allowing Dudley’s cheating on live TV to go unpunished.
4. Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd is one of the greatest point guards to ever play in the NBA, but that hasn’t stopped him from cheating on live TV. Kidd’s entry onto our list has nothing to do with his playing career but, instead, the beginning of his coaching career.
Kidd began his coaching career in the 2013-14 season with the Brooklyn Nets. In a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Nets trailed 96-94 after Jodie Meeks made a free throw for LA.
The Nets had no timeouts remaining, and before Meeks attempted his second free throw, Tyshawn Taylor accidentally bumped into Kidd, who was holding a cup, which spilled onto the floor, stopping the action.
As the crew cleaned up the spill, Kidd used this time to draw up a play for Paul Pierce for the Nets’ next possession. This “accident” was quickly discovered not to be what it seemed, as the replay showed Kidd whisper “hit me” to Taylor moments before the bump happened.
Kidd was caught red-handed on TV, but the move worked in the moment. But was it worth it?
The NBA fined Kidd $50,000 for his cheating move, and for the Nets, things didn’t end well. After Meeks nailed the next free throw, Pierce used the play Kidd drew up and got a clean look at a three, but he missed, and the Nets lost 97-94.
3. Jason Terry
Jason Terry was a solid role player, best known for outplaying LeBron James in the 2011 NBA Finals. Terry’s stellar play in the 2011 Finals wasn’t the only time he got one over a LeBron-led team.
During a 2016 game, Terry was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, and he played LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Terry cheated live on TV against LeBron’s teammate, J.R. Smith.
During the first half, Smith was in the game while Terry watched from the bench. The Bucks had the ball, and as they got into their offense, Terry stood up to shake Smith’s hand.
As Smith was on the sideline shaking Terry’s hand, Smith’s defensive assignment, Tony Snell, received the ball and finished with a wide-open dunk. Yes, this wasn’t Smith’s finest moment.
As for Terry, this was a cheap move, but yet, it’s ultimately on Smith not to feed into Terry’s action. All-in-all, this was actually an intelligent tactic Terry used that resulted in two points for his team.
2. Baron Davis
Baron Davis notoriously led the “We Believe” Golden State Warriors to a dramatic upset series as the eighth seed over the top seed Dallas Mavericks. This occurred back in the 2006-07 season.
But for Davis, he starred in another big moment during the 2000-01 season, and it wasn’t during an actual game. Davis was a member of the Charlotte Hornets, and he participated in the 2001 Slam Dunk Contest.
On one of his dunks, Davis put on a blindfold to attempt a crazy dunk. The problem was there were clear holes poked in the headband, making it known Davis could see.
What made Davis’ cheating attempt worse was the fact Davis completely missed the rim, airballing his dunk attempt. Davis didn’t win the contest, as Desmond Mason took home the crown.
1. Zaza Pachulia
The player who ranks in our top spot for the biggest cheater caught on live TV is former Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia. Pachulia ranks first because the move he performed not only cheated his opponent but fans alike.
In the 2017 Western Conference Finals, the San Antonio Spurs threatened the Warriors’ championship plans. San Antonio, led by Kawhi Leonard, were dominating Golden State in Game 1, leading by as much as 25 points at one point in the third quarter.
Then, with 7:55 remaining in the third, with the Warriors trailing 76-55, Leonard attempted a three in the corner as Pachulia attempted to close out on him. The problem with Pachulia’s defense is where he placed his foot.
Pachulia’s foot went directly under Leonard’s landing space, with Leonard’s foot connecting with the Warriors’ big man. This resulted in Leonard suffering an ankle injury that would keep him out for the remainder of the series.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was upset at Pachulia, calling his play “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike.” As for Pachulia, he responded by saying, “I’m not a dirty player.”
The NBA investigated the incident, but Pachulia was not punished by the league, but a rule change, known as “The Zaza Rule” where the defender cannot be in an offensive player’s landing space any longer. From then on, it would result in a flagrant foul for the defender.
So, there you have it: 10 times, players and a coach were caught cheating on live TV. What do you think? Have we missed anyone?
Let’s keep an eye on the players here in the 2023-24 season, and maybe we’ll find a new cheater to add to the list.
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