THE MOST ENDURING figures in sports lore routinely find ways to get into the heads of their opponents. Yeah, we’re talking about trash talking.
That begs the question: who was the best trash talker ever? That’s an impossible question to answer, but we’ve found some of the kings of the game.
Ironically, most of the prolific trash talkers — think Larry Bird and Michael Jordan — kept their reputations sterling and were praised for their gamesmanship.
We have assembled quotes and video footage of some of the most amazing moments in trash talking history.
Larry Bird calls his shot
“Damn! I didn’t mean to leave any time left on the clock.” – to Xavier McDaniel after telling him that he was going to hit the game-winning shot and where exactly he was going to attempt it.
Scottie Pippen gets in Karl Malone’s head
“The mailman doesn’t deliver on Sundays.” – Pippen to Karl Malone, aka “the Mailman,” before Malone attempted two very important free throws during the Sunday-held Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals.
Kevin Garnett has a dirty mouth
The best example of KG’s words driving large men to tears would be his harsh criticism of Boston Celtics teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis. There was also the infamous Charlie Villanueva incident where he allegedly told the alopecia suffering big man that he “looked like a cancer patient.”
Here’s some more light hearted trash talk directed toward TNT’s Craig Sager:
Gary Payton hurts a player’s feelings
“Man, you won’t even be in the league next year.”- said to former Nets Center Jamie Feick. Feick lasted six games before he was done for good.
Here’s The Glove on the art of trash taking:
Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee
Their exchange after Reggie scored after 8 points in 9 seconds. It’s hard to tell what Miller said to Spike exactly, but it had something to do with the Knicks choking away another big game.
Shannon Sharpe senses unrest in New England
The Broncos once beat the Patriots so badly that Sharpe was worried for their safety. He pretended to call the National Guard because the Broncos “are killing the Patriots.”
Chad Ochocinco’s sends gift baskets to the Baltimore Ravens
Ochocinco once sent gift baskets filled with sticks of deodorant to the members of the Baltimore Ravens secondary so they wouldn’t sweat covering him.
Here’s some more of his work:
Shaquille O’Neal: The Aristotle of trash talk
A tie between his song about Kobe Bryant and calling the Sacramento Kings the “Sacramento Queens.”
Here are ten quotes from the Big Aristotle, including the one about the Kings.
Mike Tyson also has a dirty mouth
Here are some of the best Tyson quotes that we’re allowed to print:
How dare these boxers challenge me with their primitive skills? It makes me angry. They’re just as good as dead.
My power is discombobulatingly devastating I could feel is muscle tissues collapse under my force. It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.
I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him [Lennox Lewis]. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children.
Tyson has actually threatened to eat Lennox Lewis’ children twice:
Deion Sanders disses the Falcons
Neon Deion could distract his opponents while maintaining his focus. During a October 16th, 1994 game in Atlanta, Sanders got into a fist fight with Falcons receiver Andre Rison. Rison was held to 32 yards receiving for the game, and Sanders ended up getting a pick six the next quarter. While running the interception back, Sanders spent about twenty yards of it trash talking the Falcons sideline. What Neon Deion said is unclear, but it looked angry.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. puts his “Money” where his mouth is
Mayweather is a big talker, and he spoke most about English boxer Ricky Hatton. “When I retire, I’ll get Ricky Hatton to wash my clothes and cut my lawn and buckle my shoes. Ricky Hatton ain’t nothing but a fat man. I’m going to punch him in his beer belly. He ain’t good enough to be my sparring partner.”
Here is Mayweather talking about Oscar De La Hoya to Oscar De La Hoya, and then behind his back.
Phil Jackson: The Master Of Mind Games
Phil Jackson has lobbed backhanded compliments to players and other coaches for years now, but his insults of basketball towns are especially notable. He once called the city of Orlando a “plastic city.”
Jackson also enjoys making fun of Craig Sager’s suits.
Michael Jordan was really good at talking too
The Darrick Martin game. Jordan’s Bulls were losing to the lowly Vancouver Grizzles. Grizzlies guard Darrick Martin hit a three-pointer to widen the gap and then proceeded to run past the Bulls bench and yelled, “I told you we were going to beat you tonight.” Jordan immediately got up off the bench and told Martin “Little man, I told you not to trash talk me.” Jordan was right. Martin shouldn’t have said anything.
Charles Barkley sure does enjoy talking
In 1999, Antawn Jamison made his NBA debut with the Golden State Warriors, and his entire family made it out to the game. Sir Charles knew that and said this to Jamison: “I’m not going to take it easy on you because your mama is sitting there in the front row. I’m going to get in your butt.”
Not even Jordan got under Barkley’s skin on the court as he could jaw with anybody. The only person he couldn’t beat was himself:
The Greatest Of All Time: Muhammad Ali
That’s impossible to determine since he had so many great quotes. Here are a few:
“[Joe] Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wild Life.”
“I’ll beat him so bad he’ll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.”
“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
There’s plenty more where that came from too:
Reproduced with the kind permission of BusinessInsider.com.