Separating the Real from the Fake: The Top 10 Fakest Tough Guys in the NBA
“Fake thugs, no love, you get the s***, CB4 Gusto”
Nas “The Message”
They are agitators who pose as tough guys. If there is any kind of altercation, you can guarantee one of these players will be in the middle of it…talking.
They are the epitome of all bark and no bite. With so much emphasis put on playing tough, these players have mastered the art of acting tough. This is a collection of players that—while they may have fooled a few—have convinced no one.
10. Dahntay Jones: Indiana Pacers
Look no further than the 2008-2009 NBA Western Conference Finals, when Dahntay Jones did everything except bite Kobe Bryant’s ear off. He tripped, grabbed and tackled Bryant—all in an attempt to intimidate him. Jones was unsuccessful, and the Nuggets lost in six games to the Lakers. Now banished to Indiana, Jones still plays the role of paper thug—its just that now, no one sees it.
9. Eddie House: Miami Heat
House is more annoying than tough, but the gestures and posturing are difficult to ignore. His play goes mostly unnoticed for the duration of the season. However, it is the one three-pointer every six games that leads House to believe he has earned the right to act like he does. In fact, Rafer Alston felt House’s act deserved a five-finger salute. Which is why House is on this list and Alston is not.
8. Kurt Thomas: Chicago Bulls
The “Hillcrest Hacker” has been in the league for 18 years and has been fouling players for 19 of them. Thomas causes the melees but always seems to avoid getting hit himself. His “toughness” has yet to secure him a championship, and rumor has it that he is the only man to ever commit a foul without actually being on the floor.
7. Chris Bosh: Miami Heat
Recently, Bosh has been running his mouth a lot and seems to have built a reputation as a yacker. In Toronto, Bosh backed up his antics with big numbers and no wins. Back then he was heard from because of his play; now he is heard from because of his mouth. Does anyone really think Bosh is tough? Didn't think so.
6. Quentin Richardson: Orlando Magic
“Q” has never been a factor on the court, but he has always managed to garner attention off it. Whether he is getting elbowed or getting blown by, Richardson’s play suggests he should be seen and not heard.
5. Ron Artest: Los Angeles Lakers
Artest is more known for being crazy then tough. The Queensbridge native always seems to find a way to grab, push and pull his opponent—for no reason other than to touch them. When punches are thrown, Artest is usually gone. Yes, Artest did go into the stands, but Stephen Jackson threw punches while Artest was, again, just around.
Also, remember what started the festivities at the Palace in Detroit? Ben Wallace pushing Artest and Artest backing up at a frantic pace.
4. Joakim Noah: Chicago Bulls
It was Bun B who once said, “just because you ugly that don’t make you hard.” That pretty much says it all up.
3. Amar’e Stoudemire: New York Knicks
Stoudemire is the mouth that continues to roar. He talks the talk, but when the smoke clears and it is time to back his words up, the 6'10" forward shrinks to Mugsy Bogues' height. Stoudemire may not own an NBA championship ring, but he is the World Champion of selling wolf tickets.
2. Matt “Only Thing He Is Hittin Is This” Barnes: Los Angeles Lakers
By the above caption, you see how easily Barnes is held back by Lamar Odom. However, if one needs more of an explanation, think back to March 7, 2010. Barnes was playing his usual role as instigator, trying feverishly to annoy Kobe Bryant.
After failing miserably at said objective, Barnes characteristically played himself by acting like he was going to throw the ball at Bryant's face. Bryant did not even blink, yet alone flinch. Bryant’s later response to Barnes was “it's funny to me.” As if that is not bad enough, in the ultimate fill-in-the-blank move, Barnes ran to LA to be Bryant’s backup. Today, Barnes can be seen kissing Bryant’s Converses in an attempt to avoid being banished to the NBDL.
1. Kevin Garnett: Boston Celtics
Watching Garnett get punked by Zaza Pachulia in the 2008 playoffs was classic, and watching LaMarcus Aldridge smack him for being mouthy was hilarious.
However, it is the people Garnett goes after that solidified his position atop this list. The attacks on Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki—or screaming at Charlie Villanueva and Marco Belinelli—make you question if Garnett really is what he portrays himself to be.