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The Basketball Fights

Some people joke about the light and soft nature of the basketball fights, but the truth of the matter is those people who mock the sport really do not understand it.

While basketball will never match up to the intensity of contact of hockey or football, it’s still a very physical sport.

Throughout the years, several fights have spawned from the intense competition of basketball. Some basketball fights were very famous and brutal, while others were minor scruffs between a couple players with a simple disagreement.

No matter what the case, here are a few of the most famous brawls in the NBA:

Julius (Dr. J) Erving vs. Larry Bird

While these two players were known for their sensational skills and winning ways, the two found themselves in a heated confrontation during their playing days.

One of the more famous basketball fights documented on camera, involves a defenseless Larry Bird being held back by a 76’er player as his teammate, Dr. J unloads punch after punch to Larry Bird’s mug. Now that’s teamwork!

Danny Ainge vs. Tree Rollins

These two athletes found themselves tangled up on the court, wrestling and throwing whatever shots they could at each other. The fight escalated at such a point that Ainge found himself bit by Tree Rollins. Think Mike Tyson was the first person to bite somebody in a fight? Well you’re wrong.

Marcus Camby vs. Jeff Van Gundy

While it’s very uncommon for a player to get into a physical fight with his coach, that is exactly what happened between Knicks center Marcus Camby and his head coach, Jeff Van Gundy. Well, sort of.

Camby was very irritated with the play of Danny Ferry after a confrontation. On the footage, Camby is seen arguing and complaining with a ref about Ferry’s conduct. It appears Camby just couldn’t control his anger any longer, finally fed up, Camby charges after Ferry whose back is turned in a thick crowd.
Camby extends his arm and fist, unloading on the helpless Ferry. Only the shot did not land on Ferry, but instead his head coach. Van Gundy saw Camby charging Ferry and jumped in hoping to stop his 6’11 center. Needless to say, Camby’s fist left his head coach with a bloody face and a running joke for the ages.

Alonzo Morning vs. Larry Johnson

In the 1990’s, the New York Knicks and Miami Heat had some famous big man battles between Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Morning. However, on this certain occasion, it was Knicks teammate Larry Johnson, and not Ewing, trading the blows.

In the final seconds of a playoff game, Morning and Johnson dropped the gloves and started trading blows.

And guess who showed up?

Jeff Van Gundy.

The coach once again found himself caught up in the middle of a fight.

In one of the more humorous NBA fights of all-time, Coach Gundy is caught on tape clutching onto Mornings leg while the two players trade punches directly above him.
Ron Artest vs. Detroit Piston’s Crowd

The most horrific and violent fight ever witnessed in the NBA occurred in 2004 between the visiting Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons.

Artest (Pacers) and Ben Wallace (Pistons) had just finished a confrontation which ended with Wallace shoving Artest. The refs were in the middle of discussing the infractions as Ron Artest laid down on the score’s table starring up at the rafters.

The next event, would lead to the most horrific fight of all-time, and that is what they define, “as the rest is history.”

A spectator threw a beer down at Artest, drowning the temperamental star on the chest. Obviously, Artest did not take a liking to the beer drowning as his next step was to charge the crowd and find the culprit.

What ensued was a violent encounter as Artest and fellow teammate Steven Jackson exchanged punches with bewildered fans. On the court, more players traded exchanges with fans sitting courtside including a famous punch that Jermaine O’Neil landed on a court-side fan.

The punishments included a massive fine and a season ending suspension for Artest, as well as several other suspensions handed out to Pacers and Pistons’ players.

For more famous basketball fights, check out and search basketball fights…


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