All players are on edge and the rivalries are becoming even more intense as the NBA playoffs reaches its pinnacle — the NBA Finals.
In fact, you saw a prime example of it in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, when the Miami Heat's tattooed nut job, Chris Anderson, hip-checked the Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough and then shoved him. NHL fans are used to those types of confrontations but NBA fans rarely get to see players resolve their problems with physical confrontation… and its always appreciated.
Still, to this day, the "Malice in the Palace" is legendary and is considered the NBA's version of Wrestlemania. What we usually find out from these physical altercations is that the majority of NBA players don't know how to fight but really like shoving and acting tough (I'm looking at you, Kevin Garnett). So let's take a look at some of the more classic player confrontations in NBA history.
Larry Johnson vs. Alonzo Mourning
These former teammates looked like monsters on paper but the fight was embarrassingly awful. Alonzo Mourning's fighting skills looked similar to that of a 75 year old man wanting to fight his neighbor because of a Frisbee ruining his poinsettias. The most entertaining part of the fight wasn't even Grandmama or Mourning. It was tiny Jeff Van Gundy hanging onto Zo's leg and being shaken off like a chihuahua.
Kobe Bryant vs. Chris Childs
Outside the Lakers fan base, who doesn't want to punch Kobe in the face? Kobe seems to have had altercations with everyone in the league. The New York Knicks' Chris Childs looked like Floyd Mayweather out there landing two punches and embarrassing Kobe in the process. Pause it at the :26 second mark and you'll see where Kobe started it. Then watch the fight and you'll see how Childs finished it. It was sweeeeeeeet!
Shaq vs. Sir Charles
This is one of the more entertaining confrontations. Charles Barkley gets frustrated after being shoved by Shaq after the whistle blows, then throws the ball off of Shaq's head like its a half sunk in milk dud, and then takes down the big fella MMA style. PRICELESS. It's even cooler to see this knowing they work together on TNT.
Doug Christie vs. Rick Fox
This fight got 'real.' This was the following season after the NBA cheated the Sacramento Kings out of the Western Conference championship with its crooked officiating and awarding it to the Lakers in seven games. The Kings' Doug Christie definitely had beef with the Lakers' Rick Fox. It boiled over in a pre-season game where things got feisty with an elbow from Fox followed by an uppercut from Christie. Then when both players got ejected, they fought in the tunnel. It got so crazy that Christie's wife got involved in the fight, showing off fighting skills you see outside clubs every weekend from drunk women in broken heels.
Doc Rivers vs. Kevin Johnson
Watch Mayor Kevin Johnson lower the boom on Doc Rivers. This was so crazy, especially when you consider that all of the animosity happened before halftime. What makes this fight even more wild is that Greg Anthony comes off the bench in street clothes and sucker punches KJ. Classic triple threat match was later booked but scraped by Vince McM..err David Stern.
Detroit Pistons' "Bad Boys" vs. EVERYONE
The Bad Boys won two titles for Motown but they were the dirtiest team of all time. The Pistons' Bill Laimbeer was the worst of the bunch. He alone got into fights with Robert Parish, Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, etc. Frankly, there aren't enough hard fouls and punches to merit what Bill and company deserved. I will admit though, I miss this era of the NBA. Its better than the soft league that we currently see.
AND THE BEST OF THEM ALL….
Dr. J vs. Larry Bird
Not too often do you get to see two of the greatest players of all time get in a fight fight. The Sixers and Celtics absolutely hated each other back in the day and it boiled over in this game. At the tail end of this scuffle, Charles Barkley and Moses Malone have Larry Bird restrained while Dr. J gives the "hick from French Lick" three blows to the face. Four Hall of Famers, ladies and gentlemen. That has to be the most basketball talent ever involved in one fight.
Here's hoping that Lebron James punches somebody…
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter@JoshuaCaudill85 or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Getty