It’s not exactly the same as Gregg Williams and what is going on with the New Orleans Saints, but a couple of veteran players interviewed this week say the idea of bounties offered for hitting and hurting an NBA player are not unheard of.
Cedric Maxwell, who played 11 seasons in the NBA (most famously with the Celtics) told CSNNE.com of one case — and he named names.
“We did it in the NBA. We had a guy, Len Elmore, used to love to take charges,” Maxwell said. “He’s an analyst right now for CBS. You might want to hear this Len. We had a bounty on you. If you stepped on his chest, you got paid.
“Every time he tried to take a charge and you stepped on him, you got paid,” Maxwell said. “What are they going to do, come back and fine me now?”
Well, I’d never put it past David Stern to try. Maxwell added there was no financial incentive to do this, it was just something the team set out to do.
Charles Barkley was on the Dan Patrick Show radio broadcast Monday and told his own story.
“One time…” Barkley said, although he would not incriminate the player targeted or the team he plays for. “We were getting beat by 30 points, back, this was in my Philadelphia days. I’m a firm believer if a guy shoots a three that you knock his ass as far in the stands as you possibly can. We were getting beat by 30 or 40, I can’t remember, and this guy was shooting threes and running up and down the court, and I said ‘Hey, we got to hurt that guy right there.’”
Clearly these cases do not rise to the level of what is being discussed around the NBA (or has long been rumored about and taken place quietly in the NHL). Those are sports where hitting is part of the sport and it is the intent and motives (and motivations) that are in question. But on some level it has happened in the NBA.