NBA lifetime bans: Jontay Porter, O.J. Mayo and Donald Sterling among those on infamous list

Raptors forward Jontay Porter was hit with a lifetime ban by the NBA on Wednesday, news that came as little surprise after commissioner Adam Silver hinted significant consequences could be in store after allegations of gambling violations.

Porter wasn’t a high-impact player on the court just yet, as he spent the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons out of the NBA altogether before briefly working his way into the Raptors’ rotation this year, but the announcement sent shockwaves throughout sports as a reminder of how fine a line it is between league gambling partnerships and player gambling violations.

Porter isn’t the first player to receive a lifetime ban for gambling-related offenses, let alone the first player to earn a lifetime ban at all. Lifetime suspensions are rare — it’s even rarer that those bans actually last as long as promised — but they are not unheard of in recent league history.

Here’s a closer look at which other players have been handed a lifetime ban by the NBA.

MORE: Why Jontay Porter was banned from NBA

NBA lifetime bans

More than two-dozen NBA players have been hit with a lifetime ban in league history, though many bans were lifted. Almost all lifetime suspensions deal with either drug- or gambling-related offenses.

A handful of other collegiate players were pre-emptively banned in 1951 as part of a gambling scandal but were not NBA players at any point and therefore aren’t included.

Individual Offense Year banned Reinstated?
Chris Andersen Drug-related 2006 Yes
Ralph Beard Point-shaving 1951 No
Roger Brown Gambling 1951 No
John Drew Drug-related 1986 No
Richard Dumas Drug-related 1995 No
Tyreke Evans Drug-related 2019 Yes
Alex Groza Point-shaving 1951 No
Jalen Harris Drug-related 2021 Yes
Connie Hawkins Point-shaving 1966 Yes
Tony Jackson Gambling 1961 No
Eddie Johnson Drug-related 1987 No
Lewis Lloyd Drug-related 1987 Yes
Norm Mager Gambling 1951 No
O.J. Mayo Drug-related 2016 No
Doug Moe Gambling 1961 Yes
Jack Molinas Point-shaving 1954 No
Jontay Porter Gambling 2024 No
Micheal Ray Richardson Drug-related 1986 Yes
Stanley Roberts Drug-related 1999 Yes
Donald Sterling* Racist remarks 2014 No
Ron Tarpley Drug-related 1995 No
Chris Washburn Drug-related 1989 No
Duane Washington Drug-related 1988 Yes
Mitchell Wiggins Drug-related 1987 Yes

* — Owner

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Longest NBA suspensions

Lifetime bans are, of course, the longest suspensions the NBA can dole out. Here’s a look at the longest suspensions outside of lifetime bans:

Individual Offense Length
Robert Sarver* Inappropriate workplace behavior 93 games
Metta World Peace Entering crowd during brawl 86 games
Latrell Sprewell Choking, punching coach 68 games
Mark Stevens** Pushing player 65 games
Gilbert Arenas Pointing gun at teammate 50 games
Javaris Crittenton Pointing gun at teammate 38 games
Stephen Jackson Entering crowd during brawl 30 games
Miles Bridges Domestic violence 30 games

* — Owner

** — Minority owner

Some suspensions were initially handed out as season-long bans but ended up lasting longer or shorter than other punishments because of other circumstances, such as the NBA’s shortened seasons due to COVID-19 or lockouts.

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