NBA athletes have gained the reputation of being among the world’s hardest competitors.

Whether it is Michael Jordan’s notorious flu game or LeBron James’ championship-clinching block, these top sportsmen appear to have an additional gear in crucial situations. With such intense confrontations, though, tempers are certain to erupt. The situation then becomes technical.


Technical fouls, which frequently result in player ejections and bans, have long been a sanction for improper or hazardous conduct. Due to a regulation change in 2006, a player gets banned for one game without pay after receiving his sixteenth technical foul. For each extra two technical fouls, a player is suspended for the following game. Let’s recall the most disruptive NBA players of the previous two decades.


Let’s Get Technical

There’s no question about it: Karl Malone, an NBA superstar with the Jazz, amassed a record-setting 332 technical fouls throughout his stint in the league. Rasheed Wallace is third after Karl Malone and Charles Barkley with 317 career “T’s” and an unbroken single-season record of 41. After the 2006 rule change, these records have become much more untouchable; a player receiving 41 technical fouls now would be punished for a minimum of 13 games during the offending season.



Allen Iverson, Gary Payton (250), Charles Barkley (329), and Dennis Rodman (212), as well as potential hopefuls Kevin Garnett (176) and Kobe Bryant (212), populate the list (166). Considering the quantity of all-time greats on this leaderboard, perhaps sportsmen might benefit from a little additional flair.


Boogie Monster

DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins was the league leader in technical fouls per game played during the 2016-2017 season. Following his 16th technical foul, Cousins received an automatic one-game ban 26 days sooner than the previous record holder, Dwight Howard, earning him another obscure accolade. His move from Sacramento to New Orleans did not reduce his number of technical fouls, but it did help his old club maintain order on the court.



Despite his history of technical and flagrant fouls, Draymond Green’s passionate approach to the game does not appear to be changing. Green may have cost the Warriors the championship in 2016 when he exceeded the maximum for postseason flagrant points and sat out Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers. This game marked the beginning of the Cavaliers’ legendary comeback and the Warriors’ notorious loss of a 3-1 series lead.


The Extremely Wild Pacific

The Suns, Clippers, and Warriors all ended in the top five for technical fouls committed by teams, thus it comes as no surprise that the Pacific tops all other divisions. Although the Pacific had by a significant margin the most technicals, the following three largest division totals were all from the East. The Celtics recorded more technical fouls than any other team in the Eastern Conference due to Isaiah Thomas’ 14 technicals.



The Spurs committed the fewest technical fouls of any team, therefore reaffirming Gregg Popovich’s stellar coaching reputation. Pop’s Spurs contributed to the Southwest conference finishing as the second-lowest division.


Let Us Not Become Overheated

There is always hope that your favorite athletes may learn to manage their tempers once the 2017-2018 season begins. If not, though, history demonstrates that a technical foul problem is by no means fatal for an NBA club or player.



We scraped and to get individual NBA player statistics for this project. The total amount of technical fouls includes both regular season and postseason infractions. To determine the likelihood of current players incurring a technical foul in the 2018 season, we divided the number of technicals by the total number of games played in 2016-17.

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