My man CGF put it best: Waka Flocka Flame‘s new song, “Hard In Da Paint” (NSFW version) is the kind of track that makes you want to assault your mom with a skillet. Or to be a little more tame, it’s like I told my little cousins: You have to dance to it with a “something stinks” look on your face.
Waka won’t crack any list of the best lyricists in the rap game, but he’s a go-to guy when it comes to making songs you want on your pre-game iPod playlist to get you in the mood to play ball. These 10 NBA players personify the “Hard In Da Paint” mantra:
DeJuan Blair — The quintessential “undersized” big man who makes a living with his effort, grit and fearlessness in the paint. Blair’s rookie year included a 27-point, 23-rebound stat line against Dallas, and a 28-point, 21-rebound outing at Oklahoma City. And as you may have heard once or twice, he’s doing it with no cartilage in his knees.
Amar’e Stoudemire — I don’t get why so many people think Amar’e can’t play at an All-Star level without Steve Nash. The season before Nash arrived in Phoenix, 21-year-old Amar’e put up 20 points and nine boards a night. And while he’s lost some of that explosiveness due to injuries and time, Amar’e has also matured and become a smarter player. He’s already proven he can dominate when Nash isn’t dominant alongside him, and he’ll continue proving it with the Knicks. Few big men can inflict bruises to the ego like STAT …
Kenyon Martin — … But one of those big men is K-Mart. He tries to bring down the basket support with every dunk and is one of the most intimidating dudes in the League with his hustle, snarl and half-crazy glint in his eye.
Kendrick Perkins — Even without the scowl that could land him on the cover of Murder Dog magazine, Perk makes this list. He’s a grimy defender in the post who isn’t afraid to use his six fouls and loves to mix it up under the glass. You saw how vital he was to the Celtics when they got destroyed on the boards by the Lakers in Game 7 of the Finals while Perkins was out injured.
Derrick Rose — Attacks the basket with more abandon (albeit not reckless) than any point guard in the League. When D-Rose elevates, he’s looking for a dunk, not a layup or an and-one. He’s like Tony Parker on uppers with a Napoleon complex.
Manu Ginobili — Just because he’s crafty enough to avoid some contact and occasionally acts like a soccer player doesn’t mean Manu doesn’t go hard. I can only think of a few two-guards that are as effective as Manu when venturing into the paint, and he’ll still get up and cram on you if you’re not ready for him.
Big Baby Davis — His nickname might be soft, and this isn’t exactly the most O.G. clip on the Internet, but his game is far from dainty. Big Baby is the living-under-a-bridge version of Charles Barkley, a ground-bound short power forward who feels like he’s the toughest guy in the gym. He’s got a lot of critics, but Baby won games for the Celtics in the playoffs by being the energy big off the bench and at times dominating taller opponents.
LeBron James — Watch how the defense shifts like the Red Sea when LBJ comes barreling into the paint. After learning lessons from Damon Jones, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace, nobody really wants to get in LeBron’s way when he has a full head of steam. And when they do, he’s strong enough to finish and-ones with guys literally hugging him and holding his arms down.
Dwight Howard — Numbers don’t lie. Five out of his six years in the League, he’s led the NBA in total rebounds, and twice in blocks. The two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year can dominate a game on that end, and while his offensive game still isn’t where a lot of people want, he’s the focal point of every defense Orlando faces. Usually the plan is “Foul.”
Carmelo Anthony — “We go hard in the paint like Carmelo / This is for the boys who sip purp and sip yellow.” That was from Bun B’s verse on “3 Kings,” and helps certify ‘Melo for this group. Or consider one of his nicknames is “The Bully,” or that he’s got power-forward strength and aggressiveness with a small forward’s skill and smooth scoring ability. In the most complimentary way possible, ‘Melo is simply a load.
Honorable mention — Al Horford, Gerald Wallace, Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, Andrew Bogut