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Who has the most Technical Fouls in NBA history?

Karl Malone, has the most technicial fouls in NBA history with 332. Number 2 Charles Barkley, 329. Number 3 Rasheed Wallace, 317. No other player has more than 250. The active player with the most career technical fouls is Russell Westbrook with 190 (ahead of the 2023-24 season).

We take a look at the all-time top 20 and take a peek at the new generation of active NBA players who just can’t resist pushing the refs too far. For a deep dive into the NBA’s technical foul rules, just follow this link to our complete guide to technical fouls in the NBA.

Who has the most technical fouls in NBA history?

The top 20 players with the most technical fouls in NBA history are listed below. We have taken the data ahead of the 2023-24 season. So any fouls picked up since the season started aren’t shown in our data.

RankPlayerTechnical FoulsActive in 2023-24Regular Season GamesGames per Tech
1Karl Malone332No1,4764.4
2Charles Barkley329No1,0733.3
3Rasheed Wallace317No1,1093.5
4Gary Payton250No1,3355.3
5Dennis Rodman212No9114.3
6Dirk Nowitzki192No1,5227.9
7Anthony Mason192No8824.6
8Russel Westbrook190Yes1,0945.8
9Dwight Howard178No1,2427.0
10Kevin Garnett172No1,4628.5
11Kevin Willis170No1,4248.4
12Charles Oakley168No1,2827.6
13Kobe Bryant166No1,3468.1
14Draymond Green168Yes7684.6
15Reggie Miller161No1,3898.6
16Carmelo Anthony156No1,2608.1
17Shaquille O’Neal150No1,2078.0
18Jermaine O’Neal146No1,0116.9
19Antoine Walker144No9706.7
20DeMarcus Cousins143No6544.6
Top 20 players with the most technical fouls in NBA history (ahead of the 2023-24 season)

The top 20 reads like a list of loud mouthed enforcers who knew exactly what buttons to push to not only get their opponents off balance, but keep the refs on their toes as well. All time NBA technical foul leader Karl Malone was a master of never pushing it too far. The Utah Jazz forward was only ejected from only 5 regular season and two post-season games in his entire career (according to ESPN stats & info). One of which is discussed in detail in this LA Times article from 1993.

By contrast fellow top 3 technical foul aficionado Rasheed Wallace leads the NBA in ejections, by some considerable distance. His 29 ejections dwarf Draymond Green in second place with 17. We have compiled the full list of the top 10 players for ejections in NBA history below.

RankNBA PlayerEjections
1Rasheed Wallace29
2Draymond Green19
3Dwight Howard17
4Anthony Mason16
Charles Barkley16
6Shaquille O’Neal14
DeMarcus Cousins14
8Matt Barnes13
10Kenyon Martin12
Dennis Rodman12
Reggie Miller12
Top 10 NBA players: All Time Ejections

Chalres Barkley sits proudly tied 4th for ejections and second behind Malone for technical fouls. The man who racked up a technical every 3.3 games, somehow managed to only be ejected from NBA games 16 times. By contrast Draymond Green, one of 2 active players on the technical foul top 20 list, has been ejected 17 times from regular NBA games and twice more in the postseason. This just goes to show that Malone and Barkley used the technical foul as a tool to enhance their on court performance, where Draymond Green is just out there getting angry and tossed out. Despite what he might claim.

Draymond Green is often out of control on court

Of course former Defensive Player of the year Rudy Gobert has a slightly different take on it.

Who wants to see Wolves Warriors in the first round this year?

Do European players get more technical fouls than Americans?

The only European in the top 20 of the NBA’s all-time technical foul leaders is German, Dirk Nowitski. The man who brought an NBA title to the Dallas Mavericks was known more for his jump shot than being a dirty player. He may have been the man who eventually smashed the stereotype that European players were soft, whoever he started a new, not so welcome trend amongst European NBA stars. Constantly in the ear of the referee. Dirk managed to rack up 192 technicals in almost 1,600 games, slow going compared to some. He has been followed into the NBA by the same world class ref-berators. Not least fellow Maverick Luka Doncic and 2 time MVP Nikola Jokovic.

If we take a look at their stats so far in their NBA careers we can see that the reputation isn’t justified for all of them:

PlayerTechnical FoulsActive in 2023-24Regular Season GamesGames per Tech
Luka Doncic66Yes3475.3
Nikola Jokic45Yes57312.7
Giannis Antetokoumpo37Yes73619.9
Top active Europeans and their Technical Foul volumes

While Greek Giannis has a technical foul rate of only 1 in every 20 games, a rate comparable to “golden boy” Lebron James. Serbia’s Nicola 2x MVP Jokic probably has an undeserved reputation as he averages only one technical foul in every 13 games. That won’t get him near the top 20 even if he plays 2,000 games. Slovenian Luka Doncic is by far the worst offender. He has a reputation for playing with a constant frown towards the officials, always talking to them and never happy with calls. His current career rate of one technical every 5 games would rank joint 8th with Gary Payton who currently has the 4th most technical fouls in NBA history. Luka is never going to get near the top 3 of Malone, Barkley and Wallace but he could very well push Gary Payton for 4th spot.

There is no evidence that Europeans pick up more technical fouls than American raised players, although Luka and Dirk have done nothing to dispel that myth.

Maybe young Luka is just lonely.