Intimidation is always a factor in the NBA. In a sport that features the most individually centered spotlights, there's a large difference between being respected and being feared.
Intimidation can come in many forms. Good intimidation is brought upon an athlete through so many legendary performances that opponents tend to fear the athlete on account for the statistics that may be showcased. Physical intimidation is on account of sheer size or attitude of the athlete toward opponents. And bad intimidation is having the athlete's own teammates fear the reactions of the athlete.
Let's dive into the top 10 most intimidating players in the NBA—both good and bad.
Compiling a list of most intimidating players proved to be difficult. And as always happens when a list is compiled, players get left off. Here are a few players who didn't make the top 10, though they should still be considered.
Kendrick Perkins, F/C Oklahoma City Thunder
Perkins is a mean dude. If you've ever watched the Thunder play, odds are you've seen Perkins give a glare to the camera. Perkins deserves to be mentioned just on sheer appearance.
Chris "Birdman" Andersen, C Miami Heat
Just like Perkins, Birdman is getting mentioned solely based on his physical appearance. Andersen (pictured above) is a walking billboard for some lucky tattoo artist(s). Combined with his very vital sixth-man role with the Miami Heat, Andersen is definitely worth mentioning.
Tim Duncan, F/C San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan has hit that Drew Brees/Tom Brady stage in his career. He's just so good that, even though his seasonal stats are phenomenal, Duncan rarely gets mentioned. His sheer consistency, combined with his large frame and deadly hook shot, are why Duncan gets mentioned. The gentle-giant reputation, however, is why he slightly misses the top 10.
Kenneth Faried is exactly as his nickname describes: "The Manimal."
Faried averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. The man is a walking double-double whenever he hits the floor. But his statistics aren't what give him his "intimidation factor."
Faried flies all over the floor, with his dreadlocks in tow, with a reckless abandon. Grabbing rebounds, catching and slamming alley-oops, Faried does it all.
Rose has managed to be intimidating even in injury. Though it is unclear whose decision it was for Rose to eventually sit out the entire 2012-13 NBA season, the news around the Chicago Bulls always centered around Rose and when he would return.
Before the injury, Rose was an explosive point guard who could beat anybody off of the dribble and get to the basket. Whether or not Rose is able to regain this explosiveness following his knee injury remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: Until proven otherwise, Rose will continue to be respected and feared throughout the Association.
Whether or not to put Durant on this list was a decision I went back and forth on. On one hand, Durant's stats are so impressive that they cannot be ignored. But on the other hand, Durant does not come off as someone who is that "intimidating."
However, after really diving into Durant's statistics, I felt it impossible to leave him absent from this list. Durant's 28.1 points per game were second in the NBA last season, trailing only the 28.7 of Carmelo Anthony.
Durant still has some defensive and rebounding deficiencies to work on before he can be considered at a LeBron James-like level. But his consistent scoring is one thing that has to be recognized.
Hibbert is the first on this list whose appearance gives him an intimidation factor. Hibbert's large 7'2" frame can be intimidating as he just walks through the tunnel.
According to the Indianapolis Star's Michael Pointer, Hibbert has only improved his physical appearance over the offseason.
— Michael Pointer (@michaelpointer) September 27, 2013
If Hibbert truly is up to 290, you can bet he will be one of the more dominant centers in the Association this season. With a bigger upper body to accompany Roy's 22.1-point and 10.4-rebound average in the Eastern Conference Finals this past postseason, Hibbert looks to become the focal point of the Indiana Pacers offense.
Zach Randolph—or "Z-Bo," as he has become known—is a an incredibly tough, physical player. Randolph is that player that you despise as a fan unless he's on your team.
Randolph's physical play this past postseason against the Los Angeles Clippers made national headlines, as many fights broke out between the two teams throughout the series. But it's not as if Randolph doesn't back up his attitude with his play.
Randolph averaged 17.4 points and 10 rebounds per game in last season's playoffs, including 20.8 points per game and eight rebounds per game in the first round against Los Angeles.
A human highlight reel—that is all Blake Griffin claims to be every time he takes the court.
And anyone who has ever watched a SportsCenter Top 10 knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Dwight Howard is the aforementioned "bad" intimidating player.
Given the uncertainty of what he thinks he actually wants, Howard is, in my opinion, a toxin in the locker room. Howard takes control of situations when he thinks he wants change, most of the time to the disapproval of the owner and GM.
This can cause a feeling of intimidation among teammates, such as Dwight did in Los Angeles with the Lakers (minus, of course, Kobe Bryant). The uncertainty of what Howard might do with his complaints in terms of coaching, rotation, etc. is one that could leave teammates feeling uneasy about having him on the roster.
I would keep a close eye on what happens in Houston. If the Rockets come out losing, don't be surprised if we see Dwight throw another fit when McHale doesn't get fired as the head coach.
Not many people know this, but Indiana Pacers forward David West was originally a boxer. He now has limited his boxing to the offseason. However, you combine that with the dude's bulging biceps, and I don't know how one isn't intimidated.
West is a hard-nosed, tough forward who isn't afraid to take a hit for the sake of his team. The 10th-year forward out of Xavier was Indiana's biggest offseason priority, as the Pacers re-signed to a three-year deal back in June.
West's numbers of 17.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game aren't flashy, but they come with something very valuable to the Indiana Pacers: veteran leadership. West has been a very outspoken leader for Indiana, especially during its playoff runs.
Expect West to contribute to another deep playoff push for the Indiana Pacers this season.
The Black Mamba.
What isn't intimidating about Kobe Bryant? His knowledge of the game is second to none. He has proved, through injury, that he is just as good of a coach as he is a player. And not only that, but the guy is now coming off an injury with a vengeance.
Kobe Bryant thinks he will play in season opener Oct. 29 (via Kurt Helin) http://t.co/F3ehRfWoBD
— NBA Rumors (@NBARUMORS) September 27, 2013
Despite having a team of misfits last season, Bryant still managed to average 27.3 points per game at 34 years old. And that was with dealing with the Dwight Howard drama, the injuries with Steve Nash and the aforementioned Howard, and other various trials and tribulations.
Everybody knew who No. 1 was—the undisputed best basketball player in the world at this moment. The King himself: LeBron James.
This season will mark a decade since we were first introduced to King James and his basketball talents. And according the James himself, he's still getting better.
"I am a better basketball player than I was last year in every aspect." - LeBron James #LIVEonSC right now
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 30, 2013
What's scarier than that? His stats prove his statement.
Though James' points per game in the 2012-13 season (26.8) were slightly down from his 27.6 career average, LeBron's average for assists and rebounds per game both rose. James' assist average went from 6.9 to 7.3 per game, while his rebounding numbers went from 7.3 to 8.0 per game.
With James only getting better, it's clear that the Miami Heat will continue to be the favorites in the East, and essentially the entire league. And with a player like James, whom each and every team has to game-plan for, there is no doubt his intimidation factor is much much higher than any other player's in the Association.