25 Epic Fails in NBA History

Updated on: Sep 21, 2022 5:01 pm IST

  • epic nba fails

    The NBA is one of the best sports leagues in the world, loved for its fast-paced action and limitless entertainment. That being said, there have been numerous times when things haven’t gone quite to plan, and people have been left feeling sour. 

    In this article, we’ll look at 25 of the worst fails in the history of the NBA. Whether it’s failed NBA teams or players who’ve had a really bad game, we’ve got some great fails for you here.

    What are the worst fails?

    We’ve got plenty of fails to get into, so we’ll keep things short. While there have been too many blunders and mistakes over the years that could have easily made this compilation, we’ve done our best to find 25 of the very worst fails in the NBA’s long history.

    1. Imagine missing 23 free throws in a game

    A record that nobody wants, in the 15/16 season Rockets player Andre Drumond missed a whopping 23 three throws in just one game.

    2. A record from the 1940s

    A record that’s so bad it hasn’t been missed. In the 1940s, Joe Fulks missed 42 of his 55 field goal attempts in just one game. There’s bad, then there’s this…

    3. The opposite of clutch

    James Harden might be great, but clutch might not be the perfect adjective. Throughout his career, he’s missed 16 three-pointers in a single game on 6 separate occasions. 

    4. Even Shaq could put in a stinker 

    In the 00/01 season, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal missed 11 free throws in a single game. If it was anyone else, we’re sure he’d be clowned on a lot more.

    5. All-Star baller?

    In 1971, Tim Hardaway missed a whopping 17 field goal attempts in one game, proving that even the best players can have games that just don’t go right for them.

    6. Six years and little in return

    Despite being heavily injured in the 07/08 season, the Wizards decided to hand Gilbert Arenas a colossal 6-year contract extension worth in excess of $110m.

    7. Not all All-Stars are worth it

    Just one year after signing a 7-year deal worth over $100m and making the All-Star team, Shawn Kemp returned to The Sonics’ pre-season camp weighing over 300 lbs.

    8. Why pay top dollar for old stars?

    The Nicks had a stinker when they handed a 30-year-old Allan Houston a 6-year deal worth a colossal $100m when it was clear that he was past his best.

    9. The most expensive runner

    While he was a good runner, Josh Smith never should’ve been handed a 4-year contract worth over $50m by the Pistons in 2013. He wasn’t an all-rounder.

    10. Not bad for an injured player

    Recieving a long-term contract worth almost $100m despite hardly being fit is a dream come true for many. Chandler Parsons was handed that by Memphis in 2016.

    11. The microfibre ball

    nba epic fails

    Way back in 2006, a new microfibre ball was introduced by the NBA. Everyone hated it and it’s seen as one of the worst innovations in NBA history.

    12. How can you squander $100m?

    Despite earning over $100m over the course of his 11-year NBA career, Antoine Walker somehow ended up blowing it all and going bankrupt in 2009.

    13. If you can’t move, don’t dance 

    Mark Madsen might have been a decent player but was remembered best for is his awful dancing after winning the championship in both 2001 and 2002.

    14. The 2007 finals sucked so bad

    While some games suck, it’s rare that they suck so hard that the ratings absolutely plummet. The 2007 finals were a prime example of an all-time stinker. 

    15. Remember Wilt Chamberlain’s acting career?

    A serial movie actor, Wilt Chamberlain’s worst movie role was in a film called Bombaata. The less we say about it the better… it’s THAT bad!

    16. Stick to playing, Michael

    Michael Jordan might have been a great player but his time pitchside is best remembered for drafting Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison – 2 massive duds! 

    17. LeBron’s cop-out special

    The decision had the potential to be an all-timer ESPN special but when LeBron picked what seemed to be a safe option, pretty much everyone felt completely let down. 

    18.  Don’t believe your own hype

    Where do we start? Latrell Sprewell thought $7m a year was poverty wages, he was singled out by his head coach, he made death threats against players, and then he went bust.

    19. Censorship by Nike?

    Nike was discovered to have hidden a tape showing LeBron James being dunked on by Jordan Crawford way back in 2009 because it made them look bad.

    20. There’s only one Michael Jordan

    nba fails

    There have been so many players being hyped as the next Michael Jordan but every single time we end up being disappointed. When will we learn? 

    21. Sidney Lowe’s coaching career

    Some people are cut out to become coaches but this can’t be said for Sidney Lowe. With a win rate of just 25%, Lowe is someone who is probably best away from the court.

    22. Denis Rodman’s many hairstyles

    This might be a harsh inclusion but you’ve got to admit that some of Rodman’s many hairstyles weren’t exactly hitting the mark. That being said… they were memorable!

    23. Michael Olowokandi’s rebound record

    Some signings just make sense but Michael Olowokandi joining the Clippers just wasn’t meant to be. He averaged almost 10 rebounds per game!

    24. Fila’s court sneakers

    Jordan’s were made famous and quickly became synonymous with basketball. Do you remember Fila’s attempt to break into the streetwear/basketball space? Nope.

    25. Those awful shorts

    Luckily for everyone who follows the NBA, gone are the days of those atrocious short shorts that left very little to the imagination. We’re so lucky to have what we have now.


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