The day Darius Miles was drafted into the NBA was very emotional for me. Like many other kids, I always dreamed of playing in the NBA. By the time the 2000 draft rolled around, it was clear that my dream was not going to be realized, but it still stung when Miles became the first player born after me to enter the league.
I followed his career a little more closely because of this distinction, and for a while, thought he might mature into an impact player. He was named to the all-rookie first team in 2001, averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds. He was long, athletic, and together with Quentin Richardson formed one of the more entertaining twosomes during his two seasons with the Clippers. But his career was stagnant after he was traded to the Cavaliers in 2002, and after a brief resurgence with Portland, injuries and drug issues led him into an early exit from professional basketball in 2008.
I haven’t thought much about Darius Miles in the last five years or so, but he reintroduced himself to me last week when he tried to bring a loaded gun through security at Lambert Airport in St Louis. While waiting in line at airport security checkpoints, I always get a kick out of the signs that tell you the things that aren’t allowed inside the terminal. It seemed ridiculous to me that they found it necessary to give you a visual reminder not to bring guns on a plane. Shouldn’t people who need that reminder be so dumb that they already had done something to land themselves in prison?
Apparently, Darius Miles is celebrity proof that those posters are necessary, and not just to remind people to finish their water bottles before getting to the front of the line.
Is it the stupidest thing an athlete has been caught with in the past decade? I’ll let you decide. Below are 5 other ridiculous athlete missteps. That all of these happened in the last 10 years are probably due to my age, hopefully not an indictment on the intelligence of my generation.
1. Nate Newton’s left tackle sized drug bust (2001-2002).
The former All-Pro Cowboy lineman was caught with 213 pounds of marijuana in Louisiana, then while out on bail a few months later, Newton was caught with a van filled with 175 more pounds of grass. Reports suggested he stood to make no more than $100000 for the deals. Thank goodness DeMaurice Smith got the veterans taken care of with this latest deal, huh?
2. Onterrio Smith and the Original Whizzinator (2005).
Around the same time as the infamous Vikings love boat scandal, former RB Smith was caught with this drug test beating device at the Twin Cities airport, which consists of a fake penis, bladder, and athletic supporter. Even though he had two league Drug Policy strikes against him at the time, he swore the device didn’t belong to him.
3. Michael Vick gets caught with marijuana in a water bottle with a secret compartment at the Atlanta airport (2007).
This was so dumb it spawned a new sketch on SNL’s weekend update. “Really, Michael Vick?! You hid your weed, which is not allowed on a plane…in a water bottle…which is also not allowed on a plane? Really??”
4. Delonte West flying down the freeway on a motorcycle, packing serious heat (2009).
The NBA guard most famously known for allegedly sleeping with LeBron James’s mother, was caught with guns, which isn’t the first time an athlete has been caught with guns. But since he was driving a three wheeled motorcycle, had a beretta in his waistband, a magnum strapped to his leg, and a shotgun in a guitar case slung over his shoulder, it makes the list. He was probably hiding out from LeBron’s entourage.
5. Tony Parker with teammate Brent Barry’s wife (2010).
Speaking of inappropriate bedroom exploits, when Tony Parker was found to be sleeping with the the former slam dunk champ’s wife, it led to the Barrys’ divorce and the dissolution of his own marriage to TV star Eva Longoria.