Few NBA players ever had the confidence to call out Kobe Bryant. But in the case of Ruben Patterson, he believed so much in himself that he dubbed himself the “Kobe Stopper” back in the day. However, the former LA Lakers draft pick’s career could have come to a stop just a few years after he entered the league.
Because in 2001, Patterson had to stand in front of King County Superior Court Judge Brian Gain to learn his fate for an attempted rape case involving his children’s nanny.
Ruben Patterson made more than $36 million during his 10-year NBA career
Ruben Patterson entered the NBA as a second-round pick in the 1998 NBA draft. Ironically, the self-proclaimed “Kobe Stopper” started his career playing alongside the Black Mamba. The 6-foot-5, 224-pound wing barely saw the floor as a rookie, but he saw a major uptick in minutes in his second NBA season.
After averaging just 2.7 points in 24 games with the Lakers, he started 74 of 81 games for the Seattle SuperSonics during the 1999-00 season. Patterson averaged 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.2 steals as a key component of a Sonics team that featured Gary Payton, Vin Baker, and Horace Grant.
But after just one more year in Seattle, the Ohio native joined the Portland Trail Blazers. Patterson played a key role as a part-time starter before spending time with three more NBA teams. During his time in the league, he made nearly $37 million.
However, he had to spend a portion of those career earnings to settle a case involving his children’s nanny.
The self-dubbed ‘Kobe Stopper’ paid an expensive price for a shocking incident involving his children’s nanny
On May 15, 2001, Ruben Patterson’s life changed forever. On that fateful day, he got sentenced to 15 days in jail, at least $5,000 in fines and restitution, and two years probation for attempting to rape his family’s nanny eight months earlier.
According to the Seattle Times, the judge presiding over Patterson’s case gave him the option of serving his time in Bellevue, Wash., or Boca Raton, Fla., where he owned homes. In addition, the then-25-year-old was ordered to register as a sex offender in the state of Washington.
Patterson entered an Alford plea to the crime of third-degree attempted rape. In doing so, he did not admit guilt, but he acknowledged a jury would have found him guilty if the case had gone to trial.
“I did not commit a criminal act,” he told the judge. “I did engage in an act of consensual sex and I cheated on my wife. I would like to apologize to everyone I have hurt for my stupid decision, including my wife, family, team, fans, for my terrible mistake. I cheated, and I have learned a very painful lesson.”
In his book, Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA’s Culture of Rape Violence & Crime, Jeff Benedict wrote that Patterson paid the victim $400,000 as part of a civil settlement.
But nearly two decades after his fateful day in court, the former NBA player found himself in trouble with the law again.
Patterson found himself in court again in 2019 for another legal matter
On April 13, 2019, The Cincinnati Enquirer delivered a report about another case involving Ruben Patterson. The former University of Cincinnati star told the outlet he pleaded guilty to nonsupport of dependents.
Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said, at one point, the ex-NBA player owed more than $100,000 in unpaid child support. Patterson told The Enquirer he accrued the debt over a two-year period between 2013-14.
He reportedly spent about $10,000 in child support during his playing days. However, he said, “No way I was going to pay that type of money when I wasn’t playing.”
Patterson explained that trouble with a former business manager played a role in his failure to keep up with the payments.