Ex-NBA All-Star Chris Gatling accused of squatting in, trying to rent out Ariz. home

One-time NBA All-Star Chris Gatling faces criminal charges after Arizona police say he illegally occupied a Paradise Valley, Ariz., home for more than a year, and then tried to rent the place on Craigslist, according to the Arizona Republic:

Chris Gatling is accused of breaking into a key box and living in the home from July 2010 to August 2011. A police report says the homeowners lived in California but had left the power on.

The TV station reports that he later listed the four-bedroom house for rent for $800 and called it an “Ex-NBA” home online.

Court records say that Gatling got a down payment from one potential renter but that another got suspicious and contacted police.

Gatling’s attorney, Michael Alarid, said the case is a “misunderstanding.”

It very well could be. Everyone's innocent until proven guilty in this country, and besides, misunderstood stuff goes up on Craigslist all the time.

Gatling has also been accused of forging personal checks from his ex-girlfriend and "funneling the money through College Bound All-Stars, a traveling youth basketball league that Gatling managed and operated," according to Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO-TV.

The Golden State Warriors selected Gatling, a 6-foot-10 forward/center, out of Old Dominion University with the 16th pick in the 1991 NBA draft, and he provided some low-post scoring and rebounding for a go-go 55-27 Don Nelson squad led by the brilliant guard play of Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway and Sarunas Marciulionis. He performed ably as a reserve big man in Oakland for four years before being shipped off to the Miami Heat, a trade kickstarting a league-wide ramble that would see Gatling traded nine times and play for eight different NBA teams (he had two separate stints with Miami) over the course of an 11-year career that ended following the 2001-02 season.

He peaked as a member of the 1996-97 Dallas Mavericks, leading the team in scoring with 19.1 points per game off the bench and earning an All-Star berth despite only making one start (after his selection, in the team's final game before the All-Star break). Shortly after that honor, the Mavs promptly sent him east to the New Jersey Nets as part of a nine-player deal that sent Gatling, Sam Cassell, Jim Jackson, George McCloud and Eric Montross to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for Shawn Bradley, Ed O'Bannon, Robert Pack and Khalid Reeves. (Ah, '90s blockbusters!)

How did the Elizabeth, N.J., native respond to being traded to his home-state squad?

“I hope [the Nets] have the right kind of headbands,” he said, according to John Brennan of the Bergen Record. (Gatling liked headbands. Headbands were sort of his thing.)

Gatling isn't the only former NBA big man to find himself in some legal trouble related to home-occupancy issues. Last month, former Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder center Robert Swift was forced to leave his Seattle home, which he'd occupied (somewhat grossly and troublingly) despite it having gone into foreclosure.

Hat-tip to Business Insider.