Ranking The 15 Best Trash-Talking Athletes Ever
Best Trash Talkers In Sports Ever
In recent months, there has been much fuss about the trash talk that Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman sent the way of San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree after a crucial interception helped ensure victory in the NFC Championship game. When asked about the wide receiver after the game, Sherman said, “Michael Crabtree is a mediocre receiver. Mediocre. And when you try to beat the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens. Game.” This and other similar comments afterward led many in the sporting world to label the defensive back as a thug and even more derogatory terms.
However, there was a time when the Sherman would have been viewed as an amateur in the trash-talking profession. This is because up until about the last 10 to 15 years, the world of sports was a bit less civilized when it came to letting players get in each other's faces.
There is no doubting that the move away from allowing players to be as reckless towards their opponents has happened because of a precious few incidents that stained the images of leagues like the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, but there are certainly people who still long for the golden ages of trash talk. Keeping this in mind, I have formed a list of the 15 greatest trash-talking athletes of all time.
15. Charles Barkley
Anybody who watches Charles Barkley announce games on TNT knows that he likes to talk trash, but he was far more intense during his Hall-of-Fame career. Barkley was once heard telling Houston Rockets teammate Stanley Roberts, "hey Stanley, you could be a great player if you learned just two words: I'm full." That was to a teammate and during a game, so one can only imagine what Barkley was telling opponents.
14. Patrick Roy
Former Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy made a habit of getting under the skin of opponents both with his words and body language. Roy initiated multiple goalie fights during his career, winked at Tomas Sandstrom after robbing him from scoring, and famously shut up Jeremy Roenick by saying,"I'm sorry I could not hear him, I have three Stanley Cup rings in my ear." That line by itself should be in the trash-talking Hall of Fame, as should Roy.
13. Larry Bird
Former Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird was famously talkative on the court to get an edge. It clearly worked well as Bird became one of the top 10 basketball players ever, and Gary Payton has described his on-court persona by saying, "he was a mean guy, a real mean guy, but a great person."
12. Pedro Martinez
Pedro Martinez was perennially talking trash while on and off the mound during his career, and it proved to be both beneficial and detrimental. After sparking a brawl with the New York Yankees after beaning Karim Garcia, Martinez famously asked,"who's Karim Garcia?." It is hard to deny Martinez was always an entertaining figure.
11. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a lot of reasons to be happy considering he has a 45-0 career record, and he lets others know he is the best boxer in the world. The best of his quotes may be this one at Oscar de la Hoya: "Imma beat you 'til you respect me. Imma beat you and make you call me pretty!"
10. Gary Payton
Gary Payton is another guy who used trash talking to genuinely get an edge up on opponents who were physically stronger than him. Payton was constantly running his mouth, and even told Sidney Lowe,"shut up, you little Smurf." Most of the things he said on court to players like Michael Jordan and Kenny Anderson could not be said on television without hearing a bleep.
9. Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is the best trash talker in modern day sports, as he famously talks trash continuously throughout both practices and games. The Black Mamba reportedly once told Michael Jordan: "I'll kick your a-- one on one." Bryant let the whole world know in past years that he thought the 1992 Dream Team would lose to the 2012 USA Team, and has been caught on camera talking trash to everyone from role players to LeBron James.
8. John McEnroe
Everyone knows about John McEnroe lashing out at a chair umpire during a tournament in Stockholm back in 1984, but the tennis star also took his wrath out on opposing players. McEnroe once told John Gilbert: “Gilbert, you don’t deserve to be on the same court with me. You're the worst, the f------ worst.” There is no doubting that McEnroe had a huge temper, and he expressed it through trash talking.
7. Matthew Barnaby
Former NHL enforcer Matthew Barnaby compiled the 18th-most penalty minutes in league history, and trash talking played a huge role in edging him towards that total. Barnaby once went after Claude Lemieux so badly about a pending divorce that the star player was in tears on the ice, and it led to the referee forcing the enforcer to either apologize of be thrown out of the game.
6. Mike Tyson
From 1986 to 1996, there was no better pound-for-pound fighter in the world than Mike Tyson, who started off his career with a 45-1 record and wasn't afraid of anyone. This comment to Lennox Lewis was particularly historical: "Lennox Lewis, I'm coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!" This quote has gone down in history as one of the crown jewels of trash talking, and Tyson will be remembered as one of the best at the art.
5. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson was never afraid of anybody on the basketball court, no matter how physically imposing or tenured they were. Iverson famously went after Kobe Bryant mentally in 2001, and displayed his overall brashness by recently telling the SMU basketball team that he is the best basketball player ever.
4. Deion Sanders
Former defensive back Deion Sanders always wanted the limelight on him throughout his NFL career. The man known as Primetime was famously brash on the field, and he once said this about Washington Redskins WR Albert Connell: "I told him he played a good game, but I also let him know that if he is going to hunt rabbits, sometimes it ain't no fun if the rabbit has a gun, too."
3. Reggie Miller
Former Indiana Pacers shooting guard Reggie Miller loved to talk to everyone around him, with New York Knicks guard John Starks and superfan Spike Lee providing the most well-known moments. Miller and the Knicks seemed to be in a perennial argument in the 1990s, and it seemed that more often than not, the guard came out on top with his patented look.
2. Michael Jordan
There is a reason that Michael Jordan is regarded as the best basketball player ever, and that is because he never backed down from any moment. Shaq says MJ once foreshadowed what was coming by telling the big man,"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." -- and that's exactly what he did. Jordan has even trash talked former President Bill Clinton on the golf course in recent years, so there is no doubt that the man has no boundaries in his trash-talking escapades.
1. Muhammad Ali
The king of trash talking is Muhammad Ali, and it isn't even close. Ali once directed this gem at George Foreman: "if you even dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize." This one came prior to a groundbreaking fight with Sonny Liston: "after the fight I'm gonna build myself a pretty home and use him as a bearskin rug. Liston even smells like a bear. I'm gonna give him to the local zoo after I whoop him." Simply put, Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer and trash talker to ever walk on Earth.