The NBA Player Who Once Played And Scored For Both Teams In The Same Game

NBA fans are used to witnessing incredible feats of stamina and agility on the basketball court. Though there are many ways NBA players can amaze us, each player can only play and score for one team at a time — or so fans assume. In one late-'70s NBA game, though, it was proven that on a technicality an NBA player can play for and score points in a game for both teams (per the NBA website). The story of how this very thing happened is one of the strangest and most tantalizing bits of NBA basketball trivia in history.

The game in question took place in the 1978 –'79 season, between the Philadelphia '76ers and the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn). In November of 1978, near the start of the season, a heated disagreement broke out between Nets players and the referees in a game between the two teams. As is often the case when this very thing happens, NBA refs call technical fouls to try and restore peace. In the case of this Nets and Sixers game, refs called too many technicals and that was in violation of NBA league rules (via the NBA website).

The Nets demand a rematch

Despite the fact that one ref in the November game between the Nets and the Sixers levied too many technicals, gameplay continued. Each player or coach should be expelled from the court after two technicals, per NBA rules. In this case, one Nets player and a coach received three, the third coming on their way off the court. Nonetheless, the matchup resumed while nothing was done about this clear rule violation. Down one player and a coach, the Nets lost the game 137-133 (via the NBA website). In light of the rules violation, the Nets later challenged that outcome.

Based on that controversy, the offending ref was suspended and NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien (pictured) ruled the game would be replayed from around the 5-minute mark in the third quarter. It would take place before another scheduled meeting between the two teams that March, part of a doubleheader, according to Fadeaway World. The Nets went on to lose that make-up game, too, which was, in terms of NBA record keeping, the conclusion of the very same game that took place that past November. Also notable about the spring rematch — it happened at the NBA trade deadline.

The Sixers and Nets made some trades

Just prior to the doubleheader redo between the Sixers and Nets, both teams traded some players, as Fadeaway World goes on to explain. What this meant was that a few players who had played for the Sixers in the disputed game in November had switched teams and were allowed to compete in the replay with their new team. The traded players were Harvey Catchings and Ralph Simpson from Philadelphia to New Jersey, and in return, the Sixers got Eric Money and Al Skinner (per The New York Times). As a result, each player showed up on both sides of the box score once the game was finally settled. One player even scored for both teams.

Although a few months apart, the single player to put up points for both the Sixers and Nets in this NBA game was Eric Money. He finished with 23 points when all was said and done, as recorded by Fadeaway World (in his career, Money also played with the Detroit Pistons, the jersey he's wearing in the picture above). Incredibly, that point total was down from that earlier game in November. He finished that game with 37 (per the NBA website). The final score in the make-up game was 123 to 117, Sixers. 

Adding even further distinction to this otherwise convoluted NBA storyline: The Philadelphia '76ers beat the Nets three times, including the second-half of that doubleheader which they also won, but they only recorded two "w's" in their win column (via the NBA website).