20 NBA Players Who Could Beat Up Deebo

The movie Friday, the 1995 stoner flick featuring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, has become a cult classic over the years. I wanted to begin with a nice quote from the movie, but they all read like a Matt Barnes tweet. Anyway, the film surrounds a 16-hour period in which two unemployed bums (Craig and Smokey, played by Cube and Tucker respectively) must pay a local drug dealer $200 or risk facing his wrath.

One of the movies best characters is the local bully, Deebo, whose interests include giving people black eyes, and stealing their things. Played by former wrestler Tommy Lister, Jr., Deebo stood around 6-5 and weighed 300 pounds.

I haven’t seen the movie in quite some time, so I called up my friend Jon for his take on Deebo. His response: “He’s a big dude and no one f**** with him, and he beats his girlfriend.” So, which NBA players would stand the best chance against such an intimidating fellow? I think qualities like rebounding and defense presence show considerable toughness. Which 20 guys could go all Craig on Deebo and take him out?

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He may not have flashy stats (6.0 PPG, 4.4 RBG, 0.8 BPG) but Maxiell’s girth earns him a spot on this list. Maxiell is best known for hoarding rebounds, and opposing player’s shots. A formidable role player for the Detroit Pistons his first eight seasons, Maxiell signed on to be the elder statesmen of the young Orlando Magic this past offseason. At 6-7 and 260 pounds, Maxiell is the definition of a large man.

“We looked at Max and said here was a guy who is in the Ben Wallace mode – high energy, tough, undersized… we loved his toughness,” Pistons vice president John Hammond once said about the former Cincy Bearcat (Hammond is now the GM of the Milwaukee Bucks). Even with the funky specs he wears now, Deebo would be wise to stay away if Jason came around town.

The Thunder big man came into the league as a young, raw prospect from the Congo full of endless potential. Now in his fifth season, Ibaka, who has led the NBA in blocks the past three seasons, has rounded out his entire game. Two seasons ago he began shooting jumpers more frequently, and this year he has shown more dedication to boards, averaging a career-high in rebounds per game (10.5 RBG).

Standing 6-10 and 220 pounds, Ibaka is an imposing figure who isn’t afraid to mix it up with an opposing player (see Wednesday night’s matchup with Matt Barnes of the Clippers, with full fist extension for an example). The Thunder big could easily clench his fist and Deebo would be flat on his back in no time.

What, you’re surprised that a 6-8, 250-pound brick wall made the list? Take away anti-LeBron bias mumbo-jumbo, and picture the image of a full speed LeBron flying down the lane towards you. Any honest man (Deebo included) is doing their very best to get out of the way. His stats might be down a little this year, by his standards at least — 25.5PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.5 RBG, and only 0.6 SPG — but the reigning MVP can still turn on the jets when he sees fit; see his 33 points in three quarters versus the Bucks last week for further proof.

LeBron hits the glass hard, and is a menace on defense — remember when he shut down a pre-injury Derrick Rose in the playoffs? While James never seems involved in any conflict, I’m betting he can stand his own if needed be. With the King accepting his role as villain, there’s no way Deebo can take a fully grown James!

He might be slightly undersized for the power forward position (standing 6-8 and 228 pounds), but they don’t call him the Manimal for nothin’! In the midst of his third season, Faried boasts career averages of 11.0 PPG and 8.6 RBG while never playing 30 minutes per game. Kenneth has a relentless motor, and attacks the boards as well as anyone in the league. Think about this: his per-36 minute numbers average to 11.9 RBG. Get him some more time, Denver! To boot, his chiseled physique and gangly dreads match his rugged style of play. If Deebo got Faried worked up, his nonstop motor gives him the edge over the neighborhood bully.

The Wizards 6-11, 240-pound center is the son of an Olympic boxer, so fighting is in his DNA. Gortat, who not too long ago was a super-sub on Dwight Howard‘s Magic teams, spent the last few seasons in Phoenix before being shipped off to D.C. right at the beginning of the season. Averaging 12.8 PPG, 9.8 RBG, 2.0 BPG, and one Jordan Jumpman tattoo, Gortat is a tough matchup for most opposing centers down low.

Gortat is currently sitting just outside the top 10 in rebounds per game, and SportVU says he grabs 58.6 percent of all the available rebounds around him. If Deebo came around looking for a fight, Gortat would instinctively react by knocking Deebo out. It would be a natural reaction for the player who goes by the moniker “The Polish Hammer.”

Coming out of Georgetown, Hibbert was a stiff, 7-2 big man incapable of doing things like push-ups and running down the court. Flash forward to now, and Roy is the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year. Hibbert spent the majority of this past offseason working out and lifting in an attempt to be the most physically dominating center in the game. His scoring is down this year, but his rebounding is tied for a career-high rate, and man o’ man is he playing defense! Hibbert leads the league in blocks per game (4.4 BPG) and SportVU says he is holding opponents to only 33.8 percent shooting at the rim. He may enjoy activities like Call of Duty in his free time, but if push came to shove, Hibbert could knock Deebo out.

Don’t let O’Neal’s age fool you (35 years old); Jermaine is still a bruiser. Playing only 18.3 MPG this season for the Warriors, the basketball journeyman (he’s played for seven teams now) is still averaging a block a game. Back in his heyday O’Neal was an intimidating force, standing 6-11 and 226 pounds. The six-time All-Star has 1,787 blocks for his career, good enough for fourth-most out of active players. And then there was that whole incident at the Palace back in November of 2004… You remember the Malice at the Palace? The whole players-attacking-fans in the stands incident that caused a transformation in NBA players image and conduct? Well, Jermaine was suspended 25 games for his role in the outbreak. Nobody messes with this elder statesman.

Boogie Cousins… what to say about DeMarcus Cousins? Well, I think O.J. Mayo said it best last December: “That guy has some mental issues, man.” Cousins may have the most physical talent out of all the young big man in the NBA, but so far his attitude has kept him from reaching his full ability.

This year, Cousins has shown better work ethic and is averaging nearly five more points to go along with career-highs in blocks and steals. He also grabs a remarkable 73.6 percent of all available rebounds. But there is still some bad; he’s still prone to fouls, averaging a career-high 4.4 fouls per game this season. Cousins was third in the NBA in fouls per game last year at 3.6, and led the NBA in technical fouls. So, he isn’t afraid to mix it up, sometimes to his team’s demise. Can’t you see Cousins saying one of Deebo’s lines during the game? After a shoving match with Blake Griffin perhaps? Standing a massive 6-11 and 270 pounds, Deebo would be no match for Boogie.

Just kidding.

While Udonis remains an integral member of the Miami Heat, his best years were before the Big Three’s formation. Haslem’s long braids (AKA “struggle braids,” according to Urban Dictionary) and wonderful State of Florida tattoo on his back made him an intimidating presence in the paint for the Heat, and exemplified his rugged style of play. Boasting career averages of 8.8 PPG and 7.7 RBG, Haslem is no slouch performance-wise either.

Haslem has been involved in his fair share of battles, most famously tangling it up with David West in the Eastern Conference Finals, and calling Paul Pierce a “studio gangster.” Haslem could throw on a wife-beater and blend right in during the next installment of the Friday franchise. He’s a member of the “He Could Fit Right In on The Set of Friday” team, and lands at the 12 spot overall.

Martin is one of the NBA’s few remaining OGs (yes, I did just say OG). Martin, the former No. 1 pick in the 2000 Draft, has had his fair share of angry encounters. Let’s play a little game. Two out of the three following scenarios are correct: the time he tweeted that his haters should go get “full-blown AIDS and die,” (he said his Twitter account was hacked) the time he called Mark Cuban a “mother_____” (after Cuban told Martin’s mother her son was a thug), and the time he fought referee Joey Crawford… okay the last one is a lie. (But we wouldn’t be surprised knowing Crawford.)

During his prime (lets call it 2000-2006), Martin averaged 14.9 PPG, 7.4 RBG and 1.3 BPG. His wonderful assortment of tattoos, especially his vibrant red lip neck tat, make the 6-9 and 234-pound Martin a menacing sight for any opponent. Martin would put the neighborhood gangster in his place at a moment’s notice.

We’ve officially hit the “Players Who Actually Kind Of Scare Me” part of the list. Let me preface the Jackson section: Captain Jack was one of my favorite players growing up, but you’re crazy if you don’t think this dude is tough. Jackson had a rough childhood, was suspended 30 games for his role in the Malice at the Palace, and had a little gun incident at a nightclub once upon a time. But that’s it. Okay, he also was a frequent guest on the top five most technical fouls chart.

Jackson was pretty good on the court as well, with career averages of 17.1 PPG, 4.4 RBG, 3.5 APG, and 1.5 SPG. Jackson was one of the biggest thorns in David Stern‘s side for 13 years. A free agent this season, Jackson’s antics might have finally caught up to him as he is out of the league at the moment (but he’s that dude, so we’re counting him on this list). Either way, the 6-8, 220-pound forward’s willingness to mix it up makes him a worth adversary for the likes of Deebo.

The Serbian big man is one of the most imposing players in the NBA. Pekovic is armed with lethal weapons disguised as limbs, one of which is covered with a medieval knight with full skeleton background, and resembles the crony who stole Liam Neeson’s daughter in Taken. One of the NBA’s beefiest players (I’m running out of adjectives for “big”), Pekovic is averaging 13.2 PPG and 9.0 RPG this season. According to SportVU, Nikola grabs a crazy 45.7 percent of his rebounds in traffic, A.K.A. contested. Currently sitting right outside the top 10 in most rebounds, Pekovic is one of the scariest players in the NBA, and would probably be more suited for a role in Terminator than in Friday. No insult towards Ice Cube (maybe Are We There Yet? softened his rep) but if he could knock out Deebo, Pek could do much worse.

Barnes isn’t on this list for his basketball talents. That’s not a shot at Barnes (okay, maybe a little) but Matt is one of the league’s best “headache” players. Barnes isn’t afraid to mix it up — see nearly any game for proof (and his recent mixup with the Thunder for more) and will try to bully anybody on the court, from Rafer Alston to the Black Mamba. Barnes has no fear for the Mamba.

With that being said, Barnes has developed into a great 3&D player over time (averaging 10.3 PPG, 4.5 RBG, and 1.2 SPG last season), but his greatest value is as an annoyance for the opposing team’s best player, all the while standing up for his own teammates (until now apparently). Barnes’ ability to guard SG, SF and PFs makes him a valuable commodity. Standing 6-7, and at 235 pounds, and covered in an array of body art, if Barnes asked for his bike back, I’m betting Deebo runs and gets it.

The future Hall Of Famer boasts career averages of 19.0 PPG, 10.4 RBG (including leading the NBA in RBG four times), 3.9 APG, 1.5 BPG and 1.3 SPG. Garnett is the active leader in most rebounds, 13,891, and is 10th all time. His 1,974 blocks are good enough for third-best actively, and 18th-best all time, and he is in second place in most personal fouls out of all active players. A lot more could be written about the 15-time NBA All-Star, including his spot on the list of greatest defenders of all time (he’s a nine-time NBA First Team All-Defense Selection).

KG is one of the meanest trash-talkers, and will stop at nothing to get the psychological advantage on an opponent. Honestly, I don’t think Deebo would even fight him; KG would glare at him and sling insults until he curled up into the fetal position. Standing 6-11 and 253 pounds, The Big Ticket is one of the most intense dudes in the NBA.

West, plain and simple, is a tough guy. A member of the NCAA’s All-Decade Team, West came out of nowhere to winning the Most Improved Player Award and then took it up a notch again and was selected an All-Star in 2008 and 2009. After a slow start his first two seasons, West broke out in 2005 and has averaged 18.1 PPG and 7.8 RPG since.

Since joining the Pacers in 2011, West has instilled a hard-nosed, defense-first mentality that Indiana sorely lacked. This year West has taken his defense to another level, averaging a career-high 1.5 BPG and 1.4 SPG, all the while holding opponents to 45 percent shooting at the rim. He’s been in his fair share of scrums as well, mixing it up with the likes of Shane Battier and even the Cavaliers mascot. At 6-9 and 240 pounds, West is one of the few NBA players that nobody ever wants to mess with.

Z-Bo, who was once a member of the infamous “Jail Blazers” teams of the early 2000s, has dramatically transformed his image since joining Memphis in 2009. The two-time All-Star boasts career averages of 17.1 PPG and 9.3 RBG, with a bevy of technicals as well. Back in the day, Randolph got into an altercation with teammate and really, really bad boy Ruben Patterson (who was once charged with attempted rape), which culminated in a two-game suspension and $100,000 fine.

Randolph himself has had numerous run-ins with law enforcement, but has become a lovable, although still intimidating figure in Memphis. A quick Google search will show you any one of the many scuffles Randolph has been apart of over the years (remember the Blake Griffin takedown last year?), and at 6-9 and a doughy 253 pounds, Randolph is a scary looking dude on the court… a scary looking dude who admitted to being afraid of cats… either way, Z-Bo is another member of the “He Could Fit Right In on The Set of Friday” team, and would knock Deebo out cold.

The only player in NBA history to get banned from the league for drug abuse and return, the Birdman is someone I don’t want to mess with. The 6-10, 230-pound forward is one of the scariest looking men in the NBA. Covered in more tattoos than the cast of L.A. Ink, and the owner of a gelled-out mohawk, Andersen is part biker-part Machine Gun Kelly. His stat line isn’t very impressive, but he is one of the NBA’s best shotblockers, averaging 1.5 per game or his career, and finishing second in the NBA in blocks per game in 2008-2009 with 2.5 BPG. I’m not sure Deebo, or anyone, would even risk fighting the man they call the Birdman.

Perkins is the closest to pulling off the Deebo “look” out of all the players on the list. The 6-10, 280-pound chiseled man is one of the most physically intimidating players in the NBA. He averaged greater than two blocks per game in each full season in Boston (1.3 BPG for his career), and the OKC Thunder traded him because he is Dwight Howard‘s supposed kryptonite (other than free throws that is).

Once good for eight points and eight rebounds a game, Kendrick is not the player he once was prior to tearing his MCL. Perkins is still unafraid to mix it up with anyone, however, and will knock down anybody driving through the lane. Players who drive on him do so knowing they risk bodily harm. Plain and simple, Perkins has one of the meanest mugs in the NBA, and Deebo would be best off staying away from the big fella.

The final member of the “He Could Fit Right In On the Set of Friday” team, Reggie Evans has made a living off of doing the dirty work. The 6-8, 245-pound forward looks like Kimbo Slice‘s twin, and could probably compete in the MMA ring if basketball didn’t pan out. Luckily it did. Evans will never be a scoring threat (averaging 4.1 PPG for his career), but is one of the best rebounders and hustle players in the game. For his career, he averages 7.2 RPG, but Evans has averaged double-digit rebounds twice: 2010-2011 and 2012-2013. Evans also led the NBA in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage last season (15.5 and 38.0 respectively).

Reggie has been involved in his fair share of on-court confrontations, most famously grabbing Chris Kaman‘s cojones back in 2006. Needless to say, this dude could beat Deebo any way he wanted.

Yes, it is ironic that the number one spot goes to someone with the last name “Peace.” The NBA player formerly known as Ron Artest is quite simply the craziest dude in the NBA. Now a role player on the Knicks, Artest/Peace was once a crazy good scorer and defender for the Indiana Pacers. For his career, he averages 14.0 PPG, 4.7 RBG, 1.8 SPG, and was the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2003-2004 (and an All-Star).

Back when he went by Ron, Artest was the main reason the infamous Malice at the Palace occurred, and for his involvement, Artest missed 86 total games! I wanted to pick a great quote to sum up Peace’s outlook, but which one? The “I’m still ghetto” line when he joined the Rockets? Bear with me here, but Artest, I mean Peace, was acting like Kanye West before Kanye West was Kanye West. He once proclaimed to “mean more to his culture than any other player.”

All and all, Peace is one of the NBA’s best personalities, but I wouldn’t want to go up against him. (Neither does Tyler Hansbrough.) He’s battled with just about every player in the league, and doesn’t back down from anybody. Standing 6-7 and 260 pounds, the Queens Native is the player most likely to knock out Deebo.


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