*With all of the recent events surrounding the Carmelo Anthony/Kevin Garnett feud, and the trash talk involved that lit the Internet on fire, we figured it was a good time to repost our piece on the top 20 trash talkers of all time, originally published in October of 2012.*
David Stern and the rest of the suits might be charged with trying to take the fun out of the NBA, but trash talk will never die. It’s too engrained in the culture, too fundamental when it comes to egotistical athletes playing at the top of the game. Who grows up and doesn’t talk trash? I know I did, and it fired me up, forced me to back it up.
If you didn’t talk trash, chances are you were either Tim Duncan or you never got off the bench. Everyone has different uses for it, too. Some players need it to fire themselves up. Some are a little unstable mentally and emotionally. And others just can’t stop talking.
The NBA had some good talkers over the years, from the guys on the sidelines to the ones actually on the court to even the owners. We went through the tape, and picked out who we thought were the 20 best in NBA history (or at least as far back as current history goes…).
20. RON ARTEST/METTA WORLD PEACE
World Peace was always more crazy than he was talkative. He’s more apt to pull down your pants, as he famously did at one point against Paul Pierce in the playoffs, than he is to start a war of words. He’s a different cat, who borders the line between truly crazy and just awkward. The best part about it is Metta knows it, and that sets the tone for some truly hilarious situations.
ESPN once interviewed an unidentified player and asked him about World Peace on the court. He responded by saying, “Ron Artest is just weird. One reason he’s a great defender is he’ll get way too close and whisper in your ear.”
See? Crazy, right? Sometimes hearing the same tired trash-talking clichÃ©s can get old. MWP is never stale, and when he gets weird, it has the potential to throw anyone off their game. At its core, that’s what talking trash is all about.
19. MICHAEL COOPER
One of the best defensive swingman of the past few generations was a key part of some epic playoff battles in the 1980s with the L.A. Lakers. More often than not â€“ and this will be a key part of this list so pay attention â€“ Cooper found himself matched up with Larry Bird. Unless you enjoy getting humiliated, you had to talk to Bird. HAD to. One of the greatest shooters ever was going to put it on you verbally. Cooper was one of the few players who was more than happy to return the favor.