Maybe it's the pressure, or maybe it's the opulent lifestyle, but NBA players just can't seem to resist tippling excessively and then getting behind the wheel of a one-ton rolling death hammer. Here's a rundown of some of basketball's drunken offenders.
It's hard to escape the nagging feeling that Al Jefferson may have been drowning his sorrows on Saturday evening before he was arrested for suspected drunken driving by a state trooper on I-394. Here's a guy drafted out of high school in 2005 by the Celtics, only to be traded away in 2007 by Doc Rivers in a deal to bring Kevin Garnett and NBA dominance to Boston. Jefferson joins a struggling Timberwolves franchise, puts down some decent numbers at center, but then blows out his knee in 2009. This season, the T-Wolves still stink. And On Saturday, Kurt Rambiss's boys were creamed by Portland, 110-91. DUI? We wouldn't blame Jefferson for crying into his beer.
Charles Barkley proves that even after your NBA career is over, you're not all washed up. This year, 45-year-old Barkley remained a hot topic in the world of sports. Not only did he announce NBA games, he also showed up in the news after getting pulled over on New Year's Eve in Scottsdale, Arizona, for running a stop sign. His blood alcohol level .149 percent. He told the police officer he was in a hurry because he was about to get a blow job from a girl in the passenger seat who he'd just picked up, according to the reporting officer. "He asked me to admit that she was 'hot'. He said, 'I was gonna drive around the corner and get a b**w job," the officer reported.
Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph carved out a niche on the court by relentlessly pounding the glass (dude had 25 rebounds Saturday), but it was his propensity to pound beers off the court that's gotten him into trouble. Last year Randolph, then an L.A. Clipper, knocked a few too many back before getting into his white Rolls Royce in the wee hours of April 6. Police pulled him over after spotting Randolph weaving in and out of his lane. Arrested on suspicion of DUI, Randolph was suspended two games by the league. The DUI charge was later rejected, but it was one lane violation that Randolph would just as soon forget.
Antoine Walker, a journeyman forward whose varied NBA career included a brief stint with the Timberwolves in 2007 and 2008, had his own drunk-driving episode in 2009. Two weeks after being waived by the Memphis Grizzlies, Walker was stopped in Miami for driving around in the wee hours with his headlights off. Walker smelled strongly of alcohol, and the officer who stopped him booked him for DUI. It was just the beginning of Walker's sad decline: he hasn't played in the NBA since, and a year and a half later he was arrested in Nevada for $800,000 in gambling debts.
Kings forward Andres Nocioni apparenly took a home loss to the Atlanta Hawks pretty hard last November. A cop spotted him hugging the fog line around 2 a.m. the night of the game in Downtown Sacramento and, after pulling him over, could smell the booze on his breath. Nocioni was suspended for two games without pay after pleading guilty to the charge last month, where his lawyer said Nocioni just wanted to "take his medicine and move on." Isn't that what got him into this mess in the first place?