The Worst Flagrant Fouls So Far This Season

Contrary to popular belief, professional basketball is actually a contact sport. Despite strict flagrant foul rules as a deterrent, everything from punches to tackles are not unheard of on the court. As painful as they look, however, it’s hard to look away. If you’re in for a bit of the old ultra violence, here are the most brutal cheap shots we’ve seen so far this season.

Darrell Arthur vs. Dion Waiters
The crime: Pushed a player while mid-dunk
The punishment: Ejected from game, suspended one game

Cleveland’s Dion Waiters was on a fast break, trailing opponents as he drove to the rim and jumped up for a dunk. Nuggets centre Darrell Arthur, positioned near the post, responded by shoving Waiters out of the air, causing him to crash hard. The attack had the potential for serious injury, ending that game for Arthur. He also received a rare intentional foul charge and a one-game suspension

Hassan Whiteside vs. Kelly Olynyk
The crime: An elbow to the neck
The punishment: Ejected from game, suspended one game
Kelly Olynyk of the Boston Celtics put a forearm on the back of the Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside to create some space at the foul line. Whiteside didn’t like that. As Olynyk raced to defend a Mario Chalmers drive at the basket, Whiteside took the opportunity to charge at the player’s back and lay an elbow into his neck. Refs quickly removed Whiteside from the court for the intentional foul.

Steve Blake vs. Kevin Faried
The crime: A forearm to the chest
The punishment: Charged with a flagrant foul one
Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets gave Portland’s Steve Blake a bit of a tap as the guard was playing perimeter defence. Not a good idea. Blake took exception to the contact and decked Faried with a swift blow to the chest. Both players received offsetting technical fouls and were allowed to remain in the game.

Jonas Valanciunas vs. LeBron James
The crime: Tackling an opponent
The punishment: Charged with a flagrant foul one
The Raptors were down by eight in their road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers when Jonas Valanciunas attempted the Hail Mary of all flagrant fouls. As LeBron James started an attack on the rim, the 245-pound Lithuanian big man wrapped his arms around him and brought him to the hardwood. James ignored JV when he offered to help him up. Valanciunas was allowed to remain in the game.

James Harden vs. LeBron James
The crime: An old-fashioned kick to the crotch
The punishment: Suspended one game
But Valanciunas’ tackle was only adding insult to injury. LeBron was fouled hard earlier the same week by James Harden, who appeared to kick him in the crotch during a third-quarter scuffle over a ball possession. Appearances were enough to land Harden a one-game suspension for an unintentional foul charge.

Nene vs. Joakim Noah
The crime: A slap in the face
The punishment: Charged with a flagrant foul one

Like a duelist, the Washington Wizard’s Nene dropped the gauntlet on Joakim Noah by smacking the Chicago Bulls star in the face as he drove to the basket. Tempers appeared to flare momentarily between the two players, but ultimately Noah backed down from the fight. Turns out, Noah’s the bigger man—or, rather, he had recently released an anti-violence video for kids through his charitable foundation. Good on him for walking the talk.

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