The world of NBA is always the one full of excitements, glory, and fantasies. But, these positive notes don’t eclipse its one dark aspect – NBA trash talks. This particular habit is common in everyone including the legends and youngsters. But then, what’s NBA without those heated sarcasms?
We keep hearing about trash speeches which include a lot of famous stories too, but they are generally not recorded in mic’d up moments. They are mostly anecdotes broadcast over the years by other players, which are then shared to fans.
Some of these guys are the biggest trash talkers in NBA, and they definitely have got a lot to intimidate their opponents. And if things ever turned into a fight, they wouldn’t hesitate to join the party.
In this article, we’ll list all those stars whose trash talks have been the perennial source of the awareness that the NBA is never what we want it to be without the words of these people.
Who Are the Biggest Trash Talkers in NBA?
Each people and their moments described here aren’t equally harsh. Some are witty while some can be too ill or abusive of others. Let’s see who among the most prominent NBA stars used to talk so cheap and who are still remembered just for their mouth.
#10. Ron Artest/Metta World Peace
Top Trash Talk:
I don’t shake substitutes’ hands.
He was asked if he would shake the hands of Harden, a substitute. That was his reply! It’s not practically a trash talk, but people went all up in excitement hearing this.
World Peace was definitely one of the most eccentric players in the NBA history and he never showed reluctance to physical fights. Old NBA fans know the track record of World Peace as a controversial player.
One day, Al Harrington told the media that MWP and himself had a shootaround at the Pacers training facility. That day, Jordan released new pairs of shoes in Chicago. After the shootout, MWP immediately drove from Indianapolis to Chicago to buy the shoes and immediately returned because Pacers had a game that night. The driving time was 7 hours. Usually, an NBA athlete will rest in the afternoon if he is to play that night. But that is not the case with MWP.
Also, as a defensive specialist, he was regularly in the ears of the opponents’ best players such as Paul Pierce and James Harden. However, one of the moments that put World Peace alongside the biggest NBA trash talkers is a witty call at Kobe Bryant. In a Rockets- Lakers match, World Peace repeatedly shouted “Kobe” to distract Kobe from shooting free throws. He also said “I heard you are crying at night” to Kobe.
#9. Reggie Miller
Top NBA Trash Talk Moment:
It was a verbal expression. It was during the 1994 playoffs, in Game 5 between Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks.
Miller raised his hands up to the throat to let a displeased Lee who shouted at him previously know that he (M) took his (L) side be a no better than a bunch of choke artists.
Reggie Miller is one of the finest shooters as well as shooting guards in the NBA history. However, his ability to make opponents nervous by teasing them verbally was almost equal to his balling skills. Miller perhaps is an epitome of a classic player that gets under your skin. His duel with John Starks and the subsequent irreverence towards Spike Lee are memorable.
On the other hand, as everyone knows, Madison Square Garden has always been his favorite playground. Although now, as a commentator for TNT, he tries to deny this his past, there is no doubt that Reggie was one of the greatest trash talkers in the entire League.
In a match against New York Knicks in 1995, Miller had a scoring spree, as he put up 8 points in 11 seconds and turned the table around. A 105-99 lead for the Knicks became a winning game for the Pacers. Miller then teased Knicks superfan Spike Lee and made the “choke” signs. After that, he ran into the locker rooms, screaming, “Choke artists! Choke artists!”
His trash talks also triggered Starks to headbutt Miller in the mouth during Game 3 of the playoff games, which resulted in Starks’ ejection from the game.
#8. Rasheed Wallace
Notable Trash Talks:
You better get that little bitch off me.
Rasheed Wallace told this to the Grizz bench as he scored on Rudy Gay twice in a row.
Rasheed has given the impression in these years that he never stopped talking when he was on the floor and probably his oratory arts continued even in the dressing rooms. The referees were his favorite targets, although opponents and teammates were not safe from his trash talks. His collection of technical faults, for this reason, is unmatched.
One of his favorites lines was “Ball don’t lie”; he would say this when an opponent missed a free throw after a bad call (in his opinion). Another interesting story was when he said “You better get that little b—h off me” to the Memphis Grizzlies bench after scoring on Rudy Gay for the second straight time. When he played for the New York Knicks, he teased Arron Afflalo after a missed free throw saying, “Yeah, Aflac!”.
#7. Dennis Rodman
Most Memorable Trash Talk:
I got no problem handing that Green guy. He’ll be eating out of my hand. Draymond, keep getting your teeth straight honey and listen to your mama. Doctor D-Rod is calling right now baby. You want a prescription? Come ask me.
Rodman talked all these to reveal the way he would match up with Green.
Before Ron Artest, there was Rodman who was a peculiar player in his own way. He was wild both on and off the court. But the similarities with Artest do not end there. The power forward devoted himself to the art of trash talking to raise his defensive game by muzzling the League’s best stars. An appearance in the wrestling world allowed him to sharpen his trash talking skills. He is nicknamed The Worm not by chance.
Last June, Magic Johnson celebrated his 60th birthday. Many people have sent him a message, including Dennis Rodman. They were great rivals in the late 1980s as the two players were engaged in epic duels. On Magic’s birthday, Rodman posted a picture of him and Magic playing together with this caption: “You. Won. The. Finals. But. I. Shut. Your. Ass. Down. Happy. Birthday. Brotha.”
The picture he posted in Instagram was the 1988 NBA finals, which saw the Lakers won the Finals against the Pistons. A mighty defender during his career, Rodman think he managed to block Magic a few times during these meetings.
#6. Charles Barkley
Trash Talk to Humiliate the Whole Team:
We better not be doing the Bulls this year. Man, they suck! Bunch of high school kids with $70 million contracts. Damn! I hate my mother for having me too soon.
This was his remarks on team Chicago Bulls. Currently a commentator for TNT, he has brought his trash talking skills beyond his career as a professional player. When he played, he used to trash talks with the best ones only. No opponent was safe, not even the GOAT Michael Jordan. This behavior and his sharp tongue led him to star the infamous “I am not a role model” shoe commercial.
It was in the 1993 NBA Finals that Barkley talked trash to one of the most accomplished dunkers, Michael Jordan. MJ led the Chicago Bulls to take on the Phoenix Suns. Chuck didn’t seem intimidated playing one of the best players in the history. This is what he said about the Bulls.
“We better not be doing the Bulls this year. Man, they suck! Bunch of high school kids with $70 million contracts. Damn! I hate my mother for having me too soon.”
Also, in a word exchange with Charles Oakley, he said this: “Quit reaching Oak, you know you can’t guard me”. In another occasion as a commentator, he saw Wang Zhizhi blocking a shot but he was unimpressed. “He’s got to bring something stronger than that. That’s like bringing milk to a bar, it’s not strong enough”
#5. Gary Payton (aka Gee Pee)
The Worst Gary Payton Trash Talk:
You can’t guard me boy, I’m a Hall of Famer, I’m first ballot boy, I’m first ballot!
It was Gee’s trash talk to Shaq who was once a teammate and an opponent. None of these matters to the guy with big mouth, though! Gary Payton was an absolute beast that spoke trash. The man’s mouth was always intimidating. GP was born to speak and he also backed his talks up with his game as he got a rare achievement – the only point guard to claim the Defensive Player of the Year.
Shaq said that most players would only trash talk when they played their opponents on the court, but Gary Payton would serve his opponents real-life trash talks. Shaq said you could meet Gary in a public place and he would still roast you remembering all the times he had beaten you.
During his stint in the NBA, he once talked trash to Jamie Feick which was a role player. Payton said, “Man, you won’t even be in the league next year.” In another occasion, the Seattle Supersonics were taking on Portland Trail Blazers and after GP scored a layup, he said: “I can do anything I want out here boy, anything.”
Although he has retired for about a decade, Gary still has those talks burning inside him. He is currently the 3-Headed Monsters coach in the Big 3 League founded by Ice Cube. When Dahntay Jones of the opposing team got away with too many things, Gary began to reprimand him from the sideline and definitely got into his head.
#4. Larry Bird
A Serious Moment That Had Larry Bird Talking Trash:
I’m gonna stand right here. I’m not going to move. They’ll pass me the ball, and the next sound you hear will be the ball hitting the bottom of the net.
He told this to the entire bench of the Mavericks to let them figure out how he would have the ball during the next game and hit a 3.
Larry Bird is another great legendary player and the best amongst the top white NBA players with a ruthless mind full of trash talks. During the three-point contest in 1980s, Larry Bird stopped in the locker room just before the competition and confidently told to all of his competitors: “Who’s Playing for Second?” Sure, he followed it through with a trophy in the 3-point contest that year.
However, it seemed none knew the bounds of Larry Bird trash talk as he was a beast in the trash, speaking to opponents one-by-one during every game. He once spoke badly of Dr. J so bad that it led to the infamous Celtics-Sixers fight where Charles Barkley held Larry in a strangulation while Dr. J struck him three times in the face.
What did Larry say to annoy Dr. J? He began to repeat how many points he had and how many Dr. J scored that night. Bird reached 42 points while Dr. J only scored 6. He couldn’t have gotten into his head any more than that.
Larry would even destroy the coaches if he thought they were disrespectful. Once, Bulls coach Doug Collins put Ben Poquette to defend him and Bird said to Collins: “Ben Poquette? Are you f—ing kidding me?” Bird went on to put 33 points only in the first half. Like Michael, Bird left an incredible legacy of trash talking in the league before retiring.
So, you’re probably having no difficulty understanding how he got be one of the biggest trash talkers in NBA.
#3. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Trash Talks You Can’t Forget:
Better learn not to talk to me. You shake the tree, a leopard’s gonna fall out.
Can you tell it’s something what an amigo would say? Kobe Bryant is one of the coldest trash-talkers to play in the NBA. Ask yourself, and enjoy in this new installment our record of the best trash-talking stories in the NBA.
What sets Kobe Bryant apart from other trash-talkers – and brings him closer to Michael Jordan – is his propensity to make his own teammates intimidated.
Over the years, the Black Mamba has had several casualties among the Lakers, starting with the poor Smush Parker, passed in California between 2005 and 2007. Kobe said this in an interview. “Smush Parker? He was the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So, we let him walk on.”
If Kobe is known to be a ball-hog, do not think he would feel guilty. No one believed he would roast his teammates like this in an interview. “Yes, I took 45 shots per game. What was I supposed to do? Give the ball to Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown?”
While he had just finished his rookie reason, Kyrie Irving himself challenged Kobe Bryant for a one-on-one match in a Team USA practice. The current Nets player wanted to bet $50,000 on the game. Incredulous about the youngster’s cheek, Kobe laughed at it first then pressed where it hurts:
“I know your dad don’t think you can beat me one-on-one. I KNOW that. I KNOW that. Get your dad on the phone right now, be like, “Pops, tryin’ to bet Kob 50 grand I can beat him one-on-one.” He’d be like, “Son, are you crazy? Are you crazy?”
#2. Michael Jordan
A Heated Moment That Caught Michael Jordan Trash Talking:
I’m coming down. I’m going to dribble it between my legs twice. I’m going to pump fake and then I’m going to shoot a jumper. And then I’m going to look at you.
It’s all we came to know from the Words of the great Shaquille O’Neal who once got displeased to be mocked for “Shaq cross eyes”. This piece of Michael Jordan trash was all about dominating Nick Anderson, one of MJ’s teammates.
With the name for being #1 among the top NBA scorers, Jordan had an unwavering confidence in every word and movement in his professional career, but one could say he was at his best when he talked trash. Once, Steve Smith was watching him when suddenly, Jordan began counting the numbers to Steve, “38 … 36 … 34”. After a while, Steve realized that MJ was counting from 40 points which was his target that game. Michael kept his promise and reached zero when the game ended.
MJ also had the chance to terrorize Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers. First, he dropped his 69-point game, the highest of his career, but he would also tell Ehlo the exact movement he was going to put before doing so. He basically called his shot every time and hit him on Ehlo’s face. Poor Ehlo.
Michael would demolish his enemies with his words, but he would also use them to test his teammates. When he played for the Washington Wizards, his teammate Rip Hamilton rebuked Jordan saying he wanted to have his own shoe in the Jordan brand. Michael bluntly replied to Rip, “My shoes are for All-Stars.” Rip really used that as motivation to become an All-Star later on the road.
His exchanges with Rip were much friendlier than with his other Wizards teammate, Kwame Brown. Kwame arrived in the league immediately after high school, but other than being big, he didn’t have a natural ability to play. That frustrated Jordan who finally expelled him from the team by reprimanding him mercilessly every day in practice.
#1. Kevin Garnett
KG Trash Talk That Outperforms Other Biggest Trash Talkers in NBA:
Your wife tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.
That’s what KG allegedly told Carmelo Anthony about the latter’s wife La La Anthony who was reported to have separated from Carmelo. Any typical Kevin Garnett trash talk was one of a kind when you want to compare with anybody else’s. His appearance was also no less than intimidating.
This bald giant guy with a permanent frown was dominating the painted area offensively and defensively like a hungry lion. He complemented his strong game with psychological terror in form of trash talk.
One thing everyone misses having Kevin Garnett in the league and on the court is to hear those strange screams that are heard on the court’s microphone.
For example, when he was trying to fight for a defensive rebound with his opponents, he would shout “get that s–t.” No one can forget the moment he got under Carmelo Anthony’s skin when he commented on his wife, LaLa Anthony. Apparently, the comment that irritated Anthony so bad was “LaLa tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios”.
One of the memorable moments of KG talking trash was when he did not don an NBA uniform. When he was joking back and forth with the TNT team in his program, Area 21, Charles Barkley noted that Kevin Garnett was a “Hall of Fame member.”
However, KG did not accept that statement and proceeded to interrupt Barkley’s next sentence by saying the word “CHAMPION” repeatedly, referring to the fact that Barkley never won a ring in his career. Then he continued with: “You know, Chuck, you almost a champion. Borderline champion.”