Off-court injuries in the NBA: mopeds, snowboards and…bowling?

Off-court injuries in the NBA: mopeds, snowboards and…bowling?

SPOILER ALERT: The Golden State Warriors just won the 2017 NBA finals. It took 99 games and around 80 hard-fought hours to get there, and although that seems like a lot, just remember that their season is stretched out over eight months. That leaves a lot of time for injuries off the court.

Unlike regular-sized human beings with regular-sized egos, athletes are paid for their physical prowess. When they are involved in a motor vehicle accident, their breach-of-contract fines are way more expensive than whatever settlement they could get from a personal injury lawsuit.

Don’t believe us? Look at a few hilarious examples from former Cavaliers and Warriors players…

A career in the gutter

Before coming to Cleveland in 2013, Andrew Bynum had a rough year with the Philadelphia 76ers. From the moment they acquired him, he had discomfort in his knees and the powers that be decided to bench him until he was 100%.

The poor kid either misunderstood what “R&R” means for a top-tier athlete or just couldn’t say no to a 2-for-1 cosmic bowling deal. Either way, a night at the alley worsened his knee injury and he never played a single minute for Philadelphia.

He moved on to the Cavaliers next, but barely lasted six months after refusing to cooperate at practice.

Apparently, bowling and angsty temper tantrums aren’t just for high school proms anymore.

Leaving it all on the slopes

If it wasn’t for Oklahoma businessman Clay Bennett, we might still be watching Vladimir Radmanovic play right here in Renton. Instead, the SuperSonics relocated and Vlad was shipped off to LA.

He was a regular starter for the Lakers and well-liked by his teammates. But one little white lie put it all in jeopardy.

In early 2007, he separated his shoulder and had to sit out the all-star weekend activities. He told his teammates the injury came from slipping and falling while walking across a patch of ice.

But Sad Vlad’s lie didn’t convince the coaching staff and he eventually admitted that the injury was actually the result of a snowboarding accident. The delicate 6’10”, 235lb flower’s contract strictly forbid such fun activities and he was fined $500k.

Seems a bit overdramatic, but then again the NBA did fine the 76ers $200k because players wore shorts that went past their knees.

An unfortunate home court drive

Vlad wasn’t the only one to lie about having fun off the court though. Early in his ’08-’09 season with the Warriors, Monta Ellis announced that he would be out for 30 games due to an ankle injury.

Ellis claimed he hurt himself playing a pick-up game while visiting his hometown, an odd claim considering the long scrapes and lacerations over his entire body.

His bosses questioned the alibi, and Ellis conceded.

What actually happened was a “low-speed” accident...on a moped.

We’ve handled a lot of motorcycle accident cases, and would never demean the seriousness of injuries sustained from them.


Mopeds are tiny. At “low-speed” surely the 6’3” shooting guard could’ve just...stood up?

Regardless, what would’ve netted one of our clients tens of thousands of dollars in medical coverage, cost Ellis $3 million after suspension without pay.

A swing and a (costly) miss

We like to paint wealthy celebrities and athletes as cry babies who don’t know how to function in the real world, but it’s usually in the name of satire.

Such is not in the case with Latrell Sprewell.

Here’s a quick rundown of Latrell’s greatest hits during his time with Golden State:

  • In 1994, Latrell shrugged off enquiries about his daughter’s ear being bitten off by one of the family’s four pit bulls with, “Stuff happens.”
  • In 1995, he got into a fight with a teammate during practice. After being pulled apart, Latrell left the arena and returned carrying a 2x4. He claimed next time it would be a gun.
  • In 1997, he threatened to kill his coach and dragged the man by the throat, backwards, across the court.

Pardon us if we’re not eager to take his side in his 2002 personal injury claim.

Latrell was hosting a party aboard his yacht -- the Milwaukee's Best -- when one of his guests vomited. Naturally, Latrell took a swing at him. He missed and hit a wall, breaking several bones in his hand.

Turns out athletes with broken hands don’t play b-ball too well.

His team fined him $250k, and a few years later he was refusing a $21 million contract from the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves because, “I have a family to feed...If he wants to see my family fed, he better cough up some money.”

Post-game analysis

There you have it folks: a minor bowling injury, a snowboarding accident, a low-speed moped collision, and a flagrant maritime foul. In total it cost these four paragons of human athleticism $4+ million.

If you’ve suffered from a fall or a motor vehicle accident, we can get you the settlement you deserve and you’ll be back to work in no time.

Which is more than we can say about Latrell Sprewell. Last time we saw him he was making fun of his own NBA career in commercials.