There's no getting around the fact that Tyreke Evans made a terrible decision on May 31. When the Kings star drove his purple Mercedes upwards of 130 miles per hour on Sacramento County's Interstate 80, weaving in and out of the lanes in slow-moving traffic, he put his own and dozens of other commuters' lives at risk. Evans's behavior wasn't condoned or tolerated by the state authorities, who suspended his license for 30 days and ordered him to do 80 hours of community service and attend driver safety classes. The Kings organization handled the matter internally.
Evans entered a no contest plea and didn't refute the charges or blame anyone but himself. The 20-year-old didn't offer any excuses for his behavior, but instead offered a sincere apology for the uncharacteristic lapse in judgment and has repeatedly said that he won't make the same mistake twice. Evans is hardly the first NBA player to get caught speeding, but he's one of few athletes in his position who took immediate personal responsibility for his incredibly dangerous actions. And yet, while it may be a fully-warranted punishment, his league-mandated, one-game suspension for reckless driving is also unprecedented.
If Commissioner David Stern is attempting to send a misguided message to the players — and one could certainly argue that a one-game suspension for an arrest at gunpoint pales in comparison to a ten-game ban for testing positive for a banned substance — he missed the boat by not disciplining countless players for similar, if not worse, transgressions in the past. In 2008, superstar LeBron James paid $259 (!) in fines and court costs after driving 101 mph in a 65-mph zone on his way home from a game; and unlike Evans, downplayed the severity of the situation by telling the Cleveland Plains Dealer that the speeding charge was "no big deal."
James wasn't even the first high-profile player to get ticketed that year. Chicago Bulls All-Star Derrick Rose was stopped for driving 106 mph and ended up paying a $1,000-fine and ordered to take an online driving course. He'd go on to be selected first overall in the NBA Draft just a month later with no repercussions from the league.
In 2006, the Denver Nuggets' Kenyon Martin was clocked driving 101 mph in Denver, and was then caught going 103 mph while pleading down the first speeding charge in court. He paid several fines but didn't end up losing his license or sitting out any NBA games in a bizarre case that led to a suspension ... for the prosecutor.