If you look at the history of the NBA, you can see verbal intimidation has been an integral part of the game when two teams play to each other. So far, we have seen many characters in the NBA. And they have had a taste of trash-talking where some of them have taken this to a new level. It's not only that they supported their claims, but it's all about how they went on it. When the players do it, they destroy the opponent team on the court literally and look to the opponent player's eyes while doing so. The trash-talking culture has a profound route than what it seems, and it is a combination of boastfulness and exceptional improvisational skills. Here check out some of the best trash talkers in NBA history.
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1. Ron Artest
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Ron Artest
- 2 2. Shaquille Rashaun "Shaq" O'Neal
- 3 3. Charles Barkley
- 4 4. Rasheed Wallace
- 5 5. Reggie Miller
- 6 6. Kobe Bryant
- 7 7. Kevin Garnett
- 8 8. Gary Payton
- 9 9. Darryl Dawkins
- 10 10. Nate Robinson
- 11 11. Chuck Person
- 12 12. Xavier McDaniel
- 13 13. Phil Jackson
- 14 14. Michael Cooper
- 15 15. Mark Cuban
- 16 16. Paul Pierce
- 17 17. Vernon Maxwell
- 18 18. Michael Jordan
- 19 19. Larry Bird
- 20 20. The Fans
Back in 2009, there was a heated exchange between Ron and Kobe Bryant when Los Angeles Lakers visited Houston Rockets in regular-season games. Ron is quite a character, no matter if you know him as Panda's Friend or Metta World Peace. He is widely well-known for his involvement in the palace incident between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers in 2004. During that time, chaos broke out both on and off the court. Ron got caught in the midst of it all, of course, and it reminded what he could do. Once ESPN interviewed Ron and asked him about world peace in the court, then Ron replied to them by saying, "Ron Artest is just weird. One reason he is a great defender he will get way too close and whisper in your ear". See how crazy he has been.
2. Shaquille Rashaun "Shaq" O'Neal
Shaq is perhaps famous for his nicknames and his repetitive attempts to sabotage the most excellent NBA post-game show of all time. Again he was one of the tops at taking shots over the media. You can hardly see anyone talk junk face to face to the most significant player in the league, so, for the most part, Shaq served to everyone silently.
In 2006 NBA final, when Jerry Stackhouse laid Shaq out on the first break, Shaq said afterward, "My daughters tackle me harder when I come home. It felt good to get hit like that. Thanks, Jerry." Shaq started calling Chris Bosh "The RuPaul of big men" when he got annoyed with him. And again, the same thing happened with Lawrence Frank. Shaq got annoyed with him and called him Laura Frank. Shaq called Sacramento Kings the Sacramento Queens when they were acting like they were the best team. Shaq asked Kobe Bryant, "tell me how my ass tastes" when Kobe thought that he was safe in the end from the tandem's longstanding beef.
3. Charles Barkley
When the Olympic team was playing against Angola, Barkley said to the opponent, "Somebody hits me; I'm going to hit them back. Even if he does look like he hasn't eaten in a couple of weeks". Throughout the career of Barkley, who has been famous for some crazy quotes, burning teammates and opponents alike. And when it came to handing out verbal ass shouting, he didn't discriminate. He would talk to his fans in the crowd, referees, career journeyman, Michael Jordan, and even in his post-retirement career as a personal soapbox; he was also taking shots at presidential contenders.
Once Barkley went after Jerry Krause, Chicago executive, who held on with the bulls when Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson have left. During those times, Chicago was not historically proper and they enthralled by Krause's capability to keep onto his job as a general manager. Barkley said that time "Jerry Krause must have pictures of his boss' wife having sex with a monkey." For Barkley, that was not a wild competitive nature, and he grew up talking trash on the court. In Alabama, you had to do such kind of thing to survive and keep your respect, but you should never cross the limit. If you pull up any "Inside the NBA" show from the past 6 or 7 years, then I can assure you that Barkley would have at least one quotable. Although Barkley is a former basketball player, you should still count him, and even if you don't count him, he still deserves his placement.
4. Rasheed Wallace
Do you have any doubt that Rasheed is on the list? If you poll the referees from the past 15 years or so, then Shaheed would have made it top five without any doubt. He started tormenting the officials when he started to play in the league in 1995 he continued to do it until his retirement.
As a teammate, Rasheed was so faithful, and most of the best moments in his second-half career came while supported his teammates. During the eastern conference finals in 2004, he guaranteed a victory against the Indiana Pacers, and since then, he is known as the "Guaran-sheed." Shaheed will always be remembered for his "Ball don't lie," and this is one of the best trash talk lines of all time. Whenever Rasheed didn't agree with a call, which he used to do it with every foul he committed, and at the very next time when the opponent player missed the first free throw, he always used to say that "ball don't lie" with a loud voice. Rasheed had a big mouth, and if anyone wishes to have their trash talk mixtape, then Rasheed deserves mention.
5. Reggie Miller
In the history of NBA Reggie Miller-Spike Lee-John Starks triangle was one of the best trash-talking moments during the mid-90s that triggered the rivalry between the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. During that moment, Spike Lee taunted Miller very hard, but Miller could able to score 8 points in 11 seconds. While clutching his shots, he turned to Lee and showed him a "choke sign." He was such a dramatic character, and he was one of those few players who started the fish fight with Michael Jordan.
6. Kobe Bryant
Kobe always had a slick mouth and used his mouth to everyone, even his teammates. When Los Angeles Lakers were playing against the Denver Nuggets, Kenyon Martin and J. R. Smith were exchanging words with Kobe all night. In the first quarter, he scored 20 points, and in four minutes span, he scored 19 points again in the fourth quarter to seal a 122-109 victory. Kobe was the player that time that you never want to piss off because you are going to fire him up if you do that.
Kobe was never a tough person, but he can come out of the cage when it comes to talking. Once, he challenged the entire crowed while they were shouting, "Kobe sucks" in Phoenix. Kobe's famous back and forth with Raja Bell were such an entertainment, that time Kobe used all the tactics to convince Bell. Most of the time, Kobe used the same method, it's like reminding everyone that he is the best, but his best trash-talking moment wasn't with a basketball player or spectators, it was against the most powerful man that time. When Los Angeles Lakers had a trip to celebrate NBA championship in the white house, Barack Obama told Kobe that Derrick Rose might have his number, and Kobe was telling the president without any hesitation that he would make sure to pick up after the fifth ring.
7. Kevin Garnett
During early life, Garnett was pretty decent, who was reluctant in trash talking. But in the later stage, he became angry, vindictive, and annoying. This man had a bib baby's face so bad on the face during one game where Davis started crying. Sometimes Garnett crossed the limit while doing trash talking.
Do you remember the Charlie Villanueva incident? Charlie suffered from a medical condition named Alopecia Universalis (AU) that causes hair loss, tweeted after Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics list in new positions 2010-2011 seasons, and that time Garnett called a cancer patient during a match. After the first allegation, Garnett responded, and he said that he had merely called CV a cancer patient. So how could you believe Garnett? If there would be a poll who is the biggest trash talker in the history of the NBA, then Garnett will take his position on top 5 for sure.
8. Gary Payton
Gary is a kind of basketball player who will never stop talking during the game. No one will be safe from his sights, no matter if you are a coach, player, or fan. He has a bunch of famous quotes in his bucket that they all deserve a list by themselves. He is not a different person in real life, either. He can even smack talk you inside a shopping mall or public place. He can be so ruthless like the time he called Ervin Johnson Ervin Johnson or made Brevin Knight cry or the time he hurt Jamie Feick by shouting at him to shut up with, "Man, you won't even be in the league next year."
Gary gave Jason Kidd's name to Ason Kidd because Jason had no J growing up? And yes, that was all about Gary Payton. Once Glove told Michael Jordan that he could drive a car better than MJ, and MJ responded after while "Except mine were free." Shaquille O'Neal once said that I played against and with Gary, but the thing is he didn't care.
9. Darryl Dawkins
When Dawkins was the head coach of Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs told to ESPN page 2 columnists Mr. Neel this - "If you're not having fun, if you're not talking trash, then I don't want you on the floor, I don't want you on my team." That's all about Dawkins.
Chocolate Thunder used to talk throughout the game. He was a big guy with a more significant creative side. The good thing is no one bothered Chocolate Thunder for two reasons. Number one is - he was a nice guy who loved to act crazy, and the second thing is crucial which is Dawkins had muscles on top of muscles. It's a good thing that Dawkins never got angry.
10. Nate Robinson
Robinson is a little man in a big man's game who always competes and has the feeling to prove him in every game. Stephen Curry was a former teammate of Robinson in Golden State once he told that Robinson was the biggest trash talker that he had ever seen. Robinson is a 24/7 hype man and best in the entire league and who could use his mouth just for anything. After signing in with Chicago Bulls, he had to cool him down as the years went on because, at one point, he could be out of the league. As a backup guard player, Robinson lives and dies on emotional ups and downs, which is excellent quality for a backup guard if he can able to maintain his temperament in line according to the team's game plan. But there is no doubt that this man can talk junk.
11. Chuck Person
Chuck Person always tried to play the way he didn't talk much. But we know that, particularly when you are going to check old NBA videos featuring Chuck, where you can see how he involved with another player verbally. More often, it happened with Larry Bird. When it came to infighting with Larry by words, then it became hard to beat him. Chuck was not that way behind Larry. A lot of what he used to say was not groundbreaking; it usually revolved with some traditional words like – bring someone in here who can stop me or you can't guard me, etc.
12. Xavier McDaniel
Only the X-man exemplified the roughness of trash-talking during the 80s and 90s, but unfortunately, he lost in more battle than he won in trash talking. He was at the losing side of the great trash-talking that happened with him in NBA history. It was indispensable in NBA that McDaniel got embarrassed and had to admit of being shown up by Larry. But that was just the one side of his career highlight, where 7-8 forward came out on the losing end. During the 1992 playoffs, New York Knicks confronted defending champion Chicago Bulls in game 7, where McDaniel squared up with the wrong guy and got burned. In that game, Scottie Pippen did whatever he could do to throw McDaniel off his game. Then again, McDaniel screwed up with MJ, and they went face to face in the court for 10 seconds, and whatever he said to MJ was enough to fire him up and ended a 29-42 points loss against Chicago Bulls. Once Doc Rivers said that McDaniel is a rare creature, he used to talk even when he played horribly.
13. Phil Jackson
No one has ever been as slick as Phil Jackson. He is a very successful coach. So what are you going to say about him? Not much. While Stan Van Gundy used to run his mouth, Phil would get in place consistently by people like - Shaquille O'Neal, but Phil has so many accomplishments in her career as a coach or player. Phil has many fans too in media, and he shows respect to the great players when they make a good shot in the game. Phil aligns himself to the best, and he has won many titles than anyone else and put himself in a position where he can say whatever he wanted to.
For the reason of typical smack talk, Phil is on the top ten trash-talking positions. You will have to think twice about what he says because it's so deep. Sometimes he even made a compliment to the opponent players, and that makes you stop and think – "wait a minute, is that criticize or something?" One of the great moments was when he called Sacramento "old cow town," and that hurts. It's not the screaming of Phil that someone needs to worry. It's the quiet ones that you need to be aware of him. Phil is a calm guy, but if he decides to go to someone, then he becomes a different person.
14. Michael Cooper
During the 80s, the best defensive swingman of the past few generations was a crucial part of classic playoff battles with Los Angeles Lakers. More often, this is going to be an essential part, so pay your attention, and Michael Cooper found himself equivalent to Larry Bird. If you don't like getting humiliated, then you had to talk with Larry, and this great shooter can put you down with his words. Cooper is the type of person who took everything personally, and it doesn't sound great when trying to win a match. But for a fan, it is enjoyable to hear words from Cooper.
15. Mark Cuban
Thing is a successful multi-millionaire who can say whatever he wants. Mark Cuban has been doing this for years with Dallas Mavericks, and when he became more silent in the past few seasons, particularly in the playoffs, his legacy as a trash talker felt back.
You can easily forget Cuban who used to be an unswerving distraction in the playoffs. Cuban used to release venom to the officials for making bad calls. He did that to David Stern and the NBA for any objection that came up while opposing team Dallas Mavericks playing. These days Cuban is a bit of silent because he found the other fellows took his position and shot his hot air into.
16. Paul Pierce
Paul was a talented, offensive, and supremely confident player. Paul serenaded many would-be defenders in his entire NBA career. The most memorable moment when he ignited the Indiana Pacers and Al Harrington on fire back in 2003 playoffs. Even on the big stages, Paul didn't stop. In the 2010 NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, this guy went off against Ron Artest throughout the series and never took a breath between "You're a bum!" You can't touch this!" and "I’m busting your ass!”
At the end of 2010, regular-season Paul went off to Charlotte Hornets so bad that Stephen Jackson took exception to it. Afterward, Jackson noted that he was all for conversation, mainly if you keep it between the lines. Jackson said that Boston Celtics were crossing the tracks for their talk, which were disgraceful and getting personal. He didn’t mention Paul or any name at that time, but after watching the two teams going at it the entire game, it was understandable that he was pointing his finger.
17. Vernon Maxwell
Maxwell was never a great player, but he was a crazy guy. You can ask any basketball player who used to play during the 80s or early 90s about the loudest and annoying guy they played ever, Maxwell’s name would be on top on their list. Although Max never kept his position in the All-star team and had an ordinary career scoring average below 13, people will remember him like a damn good trash talker. When Houston Cougars was playing against the Chicago Bulls, Kenny Smith, the backcourt mate of MJ, remembers Max saying to MJ, “Look, if you score on me again, I’m going to fight you.” Max thought MJ could score on him effortlessly, so he continued to show him up and embarrass him. Maxwell was a type of guy who didn’t care about anything. He could challenge or talk to anyone, no matter if he were a coach, players, or anyone. He was kind of unpredictable that you never know that when he is going to react. The difference between the other basketball players and Max is that if he said he was going to hit you, he went through with it. On the court, Maxwell loved to take shots from in front of the opponent team’s bench. Then he leaned back towards the sideline and screamed: “Catch me because I’m falling in.” At the age of 34Max signed in to play for Seattle, where he got Gary Payton as one of his teammates, and they formed an all-time greatest trash-talking duos.
18. Michael Jordan
No doubt that MJ is one of the great players in NBA history, and his also known for his trash-talking too. He loved and thrived off it. No one was safe, including his teammates. Back in the 1990s, in the Eastern Conference Finals before game 7, Scottie Pippen had an unexpected migraine. He scored 2 points, and Chicago Bulls ran off the court. When Scottie Pippen scored 2 for 16 in a game, then MJ asked him, “Migraine tonight, Scottie?” MJs most memorable moments came against Charlotte Hornets in his later portion of his career. During that game in 1995 (that was first-round playoff series), Charlotte Hornets made a late shot at stealing the match, and that moment MJ was guarding Muggsy Bogues and said: “Shoot it you fucking midget.” Bogues took the chance anyway and missed it and ended up scoring 2-for-12 for the game. Charlotte Hornets lost the match, and Bogues allegedly said to Johnny Bach he never could recover his jump shot.
19. Larry Bird
We all know about the most famous occurrence from Larry Bird. Before the 1986 Three-Point Shooting Contest. During the All-Star Weekend in Dallas, it has seen that 7 of the contestant out of the 8 found themselves having dressed and prepped at the reunion arena inside the locker room. That event also featured all-time shooters like Craig Hodges and Dale Ellis. They have been asked to present there 30 minutes beforehand. During that time, Larry has considered as top two or three players in the league. Lastly, two minutes before, when the time came for the contestant to start the event, the doors opened, and Larry appeared. He was looking around the room and said, “I want all of you to know that I am winning this thing. I am just looking around to see who is going to finish up second.” But that was not harmful compared to some of the other things he used to say. Once he came late in a game against Seattle and jagged to a spot on the floor and told Xavier McDaniel (that time he was one of the most physical players) he wanted to shoot the ball right in his face in that spot, and he did that, and the only problem is that he had 2 seconds left on the clock. Larry did the same thing too with Horace Grant during a fourth-quarter match against Chicago Bulls. Pointed to the spot, he hit a shot to Grant and scored 11 points successively from the same spot.
Reggie Miller, who was also an eminent trash talker during that time, once tried to break the concentration of Larry by talking with him during the moments of free-throw routine. Larry scowled at him, made his first free throw, and told him, “You got to be kidding me. Rook, I am the best shooter in the league right now. Understand? And you are up here trying to say something.”
However, so far, the most significant trash-talking incident happened with Chuck Person and the Indiana Pacers in 1990. That incident occurred just after the day of Christmas. Before that game, Person stated that “The Rifleman is coming, and he’s going bird hunting.” Larry showed up in the pregame and told the Indiana Pacer’s forward that he had a Christmas gift waiting for him. Then when the game was going on, Larry preserved a triple from in front of the Indiana Pacer’s sideline directly, then he turned and told Person “Merry fucking Christmas.”
20. The Fans
Never mind if it feels like a little bit of neglect, but no wonder that the fans are the best trash talkers in the history of the NBA. You know why? If they don’t throw cups of beer, then there would be no repercussions.
If you tell something about LeBron James' mom, then he would yell at you. If you make fun of Kevin Willis's age, then he might laugh at you. It happened once before when a fan from the crowd screamed at Will that his grandma was interested in him. After that, the whole San Antonio bench started laughing. And even Will even had to admit that it was just a good joke. You can tell Michael Jordan to dunk somebody of his size. MJ will surely find a seven-footer guy and continue the conversation.
One of the best trash-talking events happened that I can mention, which was not detestable or revengeful. That wasn’t even negative or derogative to someone’s game on the court. The incident happened in the game of Boston Celtics, where Massachusetts’ legend Chris Herren was on the team. Chris was in the midst of some of the outside court issue, and the fans were aware that this guy was a little cuckoo. At that time, 2 of the fans showed up in a random season regular-season game. They sat right behind the Boston Celtic’s bench. The entire match these guys rocked back and forth and saying, “Haaaarrrreeeen Haaaarrreeeen. The screaming was loud enough for the guys who sat on the bench. It was so simple and nothing crazy or harsh words, but it pissed Herren off.
Still, the fans are an integral part of the game. A few years back, when sports journalist Howard Beck was present at a Brooklyn Nets game, and he tweeted that a fan screamed, “You look like the New Jersey Nets out there! Go back to Newark!” Charles Barkley always had the feeling that the fans got away with the things that a normal person should not be permitted to do. On NBA TV’s “Open Court, Charles said “I have always been a firm believer when I am commissioner of the NBA that you should be able to go up in the stands and bring a fan I mean this sincerely to you should be ready to go up in the stands, bring a fan down to half-court, and say, ‘Say what you just said right now.”