The NBA's 10 Most Intimidating Players
The NBA game is as much a mind game as it is a physical one. Psychological edge is important and intimidation is great tool to achieve that.
But intimidation comes in many forms from large to small or subtle to overt each of the NBA players listed here no doubt had their opponents dreading at night, "Oh God, I have to play against THAT GUY tomorrow." Check out the list.
Think there's a player that didn't make it in the top 10? Let's hear it.
10. Latrelle Spreewell
On the court, Spreewell was a fairly talented player. His ability to make shots from virtually anywhere on the court combined with his aggressive mental attitude made him a dangerous offensive talent.
Off the court, Spreewell's aggressive mental attitude made him...well just plain dangerous.
Best known for choking head coach P. J. Carlesimo, he then allegedly returned 20 minutes later in true psychopathic fashion and attempted to land a glancing blow on P. J. Carlesimo before being dragged away by teammates.
While with the Warriors in 1995, Spreewell attempted to settle a dispute with a teammate when he carried a 2x4" piece of lumber into practice and threatened to return with a firearm.
In matters unrelated to basketball, Spreewell has also been allegedly involved in hitting pedestrians while recklessly speeding in a vehicle and accused of strangling a girlfriend, whose name was not Carlesimo.
9. Bill Laimbeer
Many times, fear turns to anger, and anger turns to hate. A lot of NBA players (and fans) hated this guy. But that's because they feared him. He was not only brutally physical, but he was also dirty.
But what Laimbeer haters despised most was his duel ability to both get away with dirty play and draw fouls via "flopping."
In the end though, this Piston "Bad Boy" proved to be a winner especially when it counted, holding winning playoff records over Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
8. Charles Barkley
Much like Ozzy Osbourne, whose Prince of Darkness image has mellowed over the years to the point that he has become somehow fuzzy and nearly "cute" in his older age, so too has Charles Barkley become more "lovable" as the years have progressed.
In his heyday, Sir Charles was a force of nature with an intensity streak that was fearsome. His breakaway freight train gallops to the basket were not meant to be stopped.
Among many various confrontations, Barkley once confronted Shaquille O'Neil during an NBA game and gave the Big Diesel all he could handle before a mob of people could separate the two brawlers off the floor.
Today his golf stroke is probably the scariest thing about him, but it should be remembered, that little more than a decade ago, this Hall of Fame player answered to nobody.
7. Rasheed Wallace
The walking technical-foul machine. Rasheed Wallace is a rare talent combining 7' size, rebounding, shot blocking, post up game, legitimate three-point shooting ability, and unbelievably volatile mental makeup.
He got started early, being the only player ever to be ejected from the MacDonald's All Star game.
He then brought his aggressive Philadelphia attitude to the NBA where after a stint with the Portland "Jailblazers" he eventually landed in Detroit, where he teamed up with his long lost brother from another mother, Ben Wallace.
The two formed one of the most fearsome front courts in recent memory. Their aggressive defense, caused some to compare them to the original Piston Bad Boys of the 1980s and '90s.
6. Charles Oakley
He'll probably not be remembered as a pivotal NBA legend, but during his era, Charles Oakley had his day as one of the NBA's iron men. Both for his durability and for his strong play and tenacity at the power forward position.
Teamed with Patrick Ewing, the two made a dreadfully long night for any opposing big man. The truth is, Oakley was a real man's thug. He's done it all: Pushes, shoves, elbows, punches, this guy was a walking "Don't Mess With Me Manual."
The question is, who didn't Oakley have beef with?
5. Dennis Rodman
Probably not that much has to be said about Dennis Rodman. This guy never lost his mind...he was nuts from the beginning. What Rodman lacked in sanity, he made up for in rebounding and shut down defense.
Regarded possibly as one of the best rebounding power forwards ever, this former Piston "Bad Boy" was a nightmare for opposing forwards as his smothering defense was also world class.
As he tried to drive his opponents as crazy as Rodman himself evidently was, he also developed infamy for his confrontations with officials other non player personnel.
His kicking of a camera man, lead to a large fine and suspensions. In the end though, Rodman won five championships, seven rebounding crowns, and two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, and remains partially in the public eye as an enigmatic and colorful personality.
4. Ben Wallace
Nobody defines hard work and tenacity like Ben Wallace. This photo captures the essence of Wallace's intimidation factor. His overwhelming ability to brutally deny opposing offensive players made him a defensive juggernaut.
As a truly gifted rebounder, Ben Wallace had a nose for the ball inhaling rebounds on both ends of the court.
Perhaps most impressive was Ben Wallace's one on one defensive assignment against Shaquille O'Neil during the NBA finals, when Wallace's Detroit Pistons faced a talent-laden Lakers team feature O'Neil in his prime, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton.
In the end, Wallace and the Pistons prevailed winning the Championship.
3. Wilt Chamberlain
Utter dominance. That's a good way to intimidate. Wilt Chamberlain's stats alone make grown men weep. Some of the records might as well be carved in bronze and erected in front of every NBA stadium for all time, because they will never be broken.
Chamberlain averaged 50 points per game during one season. He averaged 22.9 rebounds per game during his career! The man scored over 50 points in a game, 118 times.
The only other scary thing about his game was his free throw shooting. Like Shaq or Ben Wallace, his was just as bad. If he actually made more free throws, maybe his scoring average could have been even higher...what a possibility.
2. Ron Artest
It's been said that you fear what you don't know. And nobody knows what's going on in this guys head. Look closely into Artest's eyes in this picture. What do you see? Seriously, tell me what you see, I was too afraid to actually look.
Artest, instigator of the most infamous NBA brawl ever. Originally, the conflict was between Artest and Ben Wallace. I remember thinking back then, "Wow, I wouldn't mess with Wallace. Artest is nuts, man."
But at that moment Artest went berserk, charging headlong into the crowd. I later discovered, that Artest is also a fairly accomplished boxer.
And while he lacks Ben Wallace's outward appearance, Artest is strongly built at 6'7" and 255 lbs; the same measurements as Ben Wallace. All things considered, today I think it's Wallace who was lucky Artest didn't get his hands on him.
1. Shaquille O'Neal
Much like Chamberlain, nothing intimidates like a player who can simply dominate. Perhaps no player in his prime was more unstoppable than the Big Diesel. 7'3" and 300+ lbs, he was a giant among giants.
He's been known to brush aside entire groups of defenders as they tried to feebly swipe and flail at his tree-like limbs.
Shaq has certainly threatened as many rims as he has men. His earth shaking dunks were so forceful that he brought many backboards crashing to the floor.
Although he's typically jovial, you never wanted to anger the big man. During a brawl with Brad Miller, Shaq unleashed a wild fist that traced a wicked arc through the air and narrowly missed Miller's head.
Though the punch missed it's target, observers note that it had enough destructive power to destroy Brad Miller's head the way the Death Star could destroy entire planets.