The NBA showcases freakish athletes playing the best basketball on the planet. Yet for all the highlights produced on a nightly basis, less-than-stellar actions pop up almost as frequently. From obvious suspects like J.R. Smith to world-class superstars like Chris Paul, anyone who spends enough time in the league will slip up at one point or another on the hardwood. To honor those moments and the people responsible for them, we’ve compiled a list of the NBA's biggest turkeys over the past calendar year.
Ronnie Price: Sneaker toss
After losing the ball -- and his shoe -- near the Warriors’ basket, Price hustled to get back on defense as Andre Iguodala led the break. Lagging a few steps behind the Golden State forward, Price chucked his shoe at the ball, to no avail. He was assessed a technical foul. This was bad execution and an even worse idea.
Lance Stephenson: Ear games
Chris Paul: Postseason meltdown
When Paul wraps his career, he will be remembered as one of the best point guards of all time. This sequence might be the biggest blemish on his resume. In the final 20 seconds of Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Paul committed two turnovers and fouled Russell Westbrook on a three-point shot to facilitate the Thunder’s comeback bid and eventual six-game series win.
Eric Bledsoe: Friendly-fire trash talk
Bledsoe recently said that he would take Kentucky to beat the winless 76ers in a seven-game series. Perhaps the Suns guard was merely showing support for his alma mater – and it should be noted that he later said he was joking – but anybody with a shred of basketball wisdom knows the Wildcats wouldn’t stand a chance against Philadelphia. It appears Nerlens Noel may have taken offense to Bledsoe’s comments. The Sixers’ center (and fellow Kentucky alumnus) committed a hard foul on Bledsoe in the first minute of their game in Philadelphia last Friday. Noel’s act drew a flagrant 1.
Nick Young: Not so Swaggy
Watching Young drive Kobe insane while the Lakers scuttle to their worst season in years is going to be entertaining. Perhaps nothing encapsulates the spirit of Swaggy P better than this premature celebration.
Kobe Bryant: "Kobe!"
Bryant recently explained his excessive shot attempts by drawing a comparison between his teammates and crime. This 35-footer, launched with about five seconds on the shot clock, was not a crime, but it did fall woefully short of the rim.
J.R. Smith: Laced with regret
The NBA issued Smith a warning after he was caught untying Shawn Marion’s shoelace during a free throw. The Knicks’ guard was then fined $50,000 for “recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct” after he unsuccessfully tried to pull the same thing on Greg Monroe. Smith also hinted on Twitter that the shoe-tying shenanigans that caught the league’s attention were not isolated incidents.
Amar'e Stoudemire: Too unselfish
Errant passes are an unavoidable part of the game, but this one is worth revisiting. Stoudemire caught the ball at the elbow, turned toward the corner and flung the ball out of bounds, where it spilled a woman’s drink. The only teammate even remotely close to where the pass ended up is Beno Udrih, but there’s no way Stoudemire was aiming for him on this play.
BBVA Compass' Angel Cano: Oops
Andre Drummond scored 25 points and grabbed 30 rebounds to earn the Most Valuable Player of the Rising Stars Challenge. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive his trophy in one piece.
After the mic was passed over to Craig Sager, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. stepped in and said, “ESPN Not Top 10.” Cano tried to reassemble the trophy before passing it over to Drummond, who hoisted it above his head.
Tony Parker: Free throw fail
Parker has shot 75 percent from the line over his career, but this will go down as one of the ugliest free-throw attempts of all time. The ball, which we can only hope slipped out of Parker’s hands, fell so short of the goal that the referees waved it off and gave him a re-do. The Spurs point guard connected on his second attempt and finished the night with a perfect 3-for-3 mark from the stripe.
Brandon Knight: Bunny at the buzzer
All Knight needed to do to beat the Nets in overtime last week was convert an uncontested layup. He missed but managed to redeem himself somewhat later on when he knocked down a big three to help Milwaukee win in triple overtime. And besides, a botched layup is nothing compared to the humiliation of R.I.P. Brandon Knight.
Andrea Bargnani: Feelin' it!
Bargnani took an extremely ill-advised shot in a game against the Bucks last December. With about 16 seconds remaining in overtime and the Knicks up by two, Tyson Chandler rebounded a missed jumper by Carmelo Anthony and passed the ball out to Bargnani. Instead of holding the ball, letting the clock run down and forcing the Bucks to foul him, Bargnani jacked a three, it missed and John Henson converted a putback to send the game to double overtime. Fortunately for Bargnani and the Knicks, they pulled out a 107-101 win.