Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant was suspended for 25 games of the 2023-24 season without pay for conduct detrimental to the league after the NBA’s investigation into a second video of Morant, 23, holding a gun that circulated on social media May 13.
The video appeared during an Instagram Live session on the account of Morant’s friend Davonte Pack, with the All-Star flashing a handgun in a car while rapping along with a song. The video was later deleted.
The NBA suspended Morant for eight games following a similar incident in March, when he was seen on Instagram Live holding up a handgun while intoxicated at a Denver-area club.
Morant enrolled in a Florida counseling facility — to learn how to manage stress better, he later said — before traveling to New York City to meet with Silver at the commissioner’s office 11 days after the March incident.
Following news of Morant’s 25-game suspension Friday, what are the other most notable non-drug-related suspensions?
Does the “Malice at the Palace” ring a bell? How about Gilbert Arenas’ infamous gun altercation with a teammate in the Washington Wizards‘ locker room?
Here are the lengthiest suspensions handed down in the NBA and where Morant’s 25 games stacks up on the list.
Metta Sandiford-Artest (formerly known as Ron Artest) — 86 games
Sandiford-Artest was one of nine players suspended for their roles in the “Malice at the Palace,” a massive brawl that took place during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons in Detroit on Nov. 19, 2004. The controversial former star was suspended for the remainder of the 2004-05 season — which ended up being 86 games (73 in the regular season, 13 in the playoffs) for his role in the fight.
It remains the longest suspension in NBA history.
After initially receiving a 10-game suspension for an altercation with head coach P.J. Carlesimo on Dec. 1, 1997, the Golden State Warriors voided the remainder of Sprewell’s contract and suspended him for a year. Following an appeal, Sprewell had the voiding overturned and the suspension reduced to 68 games (the remainder of 1997-98 season).
Gilbert Arenas — 50 games
On Jan. 27, 2010, Arenas was suspended for the rest of the 2009-10 season (38 games) for bringing guns into the Washington Wizards’ locker room in an altercation with teammate Javaris Crittenton and mocking the situation by making finger gun gestures at a game. The incident stemmed from a dispute over a gambling debt. Both players displayed firearms, although no shots were fired.
Arenas had already missed 12 games from being on indefinite suspension since Jan. 6 while under investigation for allegedly carrying and storing unlicensed firearms. Arenas was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a violation of the District of Columbia’s strict gun laws.
Crittenton was suspended for the remainder of the 2009-10 season (38 games) for the Dec. 21, 2009, confrontation with Arenas where both players admitted to displaying unloaded firearms in the Wizards locker room. The incident raised significant concerns regarding player conduct, the possession of firearms, and violations of NBA rules. As a result, the NBA took disciplinary action against both Crittenton and Arenas.
Crittenton was also later indicted on charges related to the incident and eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun offense.
Stephen Jackson — 30 games
Jackson received a 30-game suspension for his role in the Malice at the Palace. After the initial on-court altercation between players, a fan threw a drink at Sandiford-Artest, triggering his escalation of the conflict. Jackson followed Artest’s lead and charged into the stands to confront the fan who had thrown the drink, resulting in verbal and physical advancements.
Miles Bridges — 30 games
The NBA issued Bridges a 30-game suspension for domestic violence on April 14, 2023. Bridges was accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend in front of their two children in May. He was arrested last June by Los Angeles police and released on $130,000 bond. The league deemed that Bridges, who did not sign a contract for the 2022-23 season, has already served 20 games, and will miss 10 games in which he is eligible to play.
Kermit Washington — 26 games
Washington was suspended for 26 games after punching Rudy Tomjanovich in the face during a fight in a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets on Dec. 9, 1977. During the game, a scuffle broke out between Washington’s teammate, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Rockets player Kevin Kunnert. While trying to intervene in the scuffle, Washington threw a punch that landed on the face of Tomjanovich, a forward for the Rockets. Tomjanovich suffered a fractured skull and serious facial injuries.
Ja Morant — 25 games
Morant, 23, was suspended after an Instagram Live video May 13 showed him holding a gun — his second gun-related incident in two months. NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Morant’s conduct “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.” Though Morant was not criminally charged for the firearm incident, Silver said it would not prevent the league from handing down more discipline.
Jeff Taylor — 24 games
Taylor was suspended in 2014-15 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property. On Sept. 25, 2014, the former Charlotte Hornet was arrested in East Lansing, Michigan, on domestic assault charges stemming from an altercation with his then-girlfriend.
As a result of his guilty plea and the severity of the charges, the NBA suspended Jeff Taylor for 24 games without pay. The suspension took effect at the beginning of the 2014-15 NBA season.
Jermaine O’Neal — 15 games (originally 25)
O’Neal received a suspension for fighting during the Malice at the Palace in the 2004-05 season. As the brawl escalated, O’Neal threw a punch at Pistons center Ben Wallace, which led to a larger-scale altercation involving players, coaches and fans.
O’Neal’s punch did not directly connect with Wallace, but it contributed to the chaotic atmosphere and further escalated the situation. The brawl resulted in the lengthy suspension for O’Neal and several other players involved.
Carmelo Anthony — 15 games
The incident occurred late in the game when the Knicks were trailing by a significant margin. Collins, playing for the Knicks, fouled J.R. Smith on a fast break. Following the foul, Anthony confronted Collins and tensions escalated quickly.
Anthony threw a punch at Collins, which ignited a larger altercation involving players from both teams. The incident spilled over into the crowd, with security personnel and coaches attempting to break up the fight. The brawl resulted in multiple ejections and suspensions.
As a result of his involvement, Anthony was suspended for 15 games, which at the time was one of the longest suspensions ever given for an on-court incident. Collins received a six-game suspension for his role.
Matt Williams of ESPN Stats & Information contributed research for this article.