NBA Power Rankings: Kevin Garnett and the Biggest Trash Talkers in NBA History

Shane DePutronCorrespondent IApril 11, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Kevin Garnett and the Biggest Trash Talkers in NBA History

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    When seeking to create power rankings for the league's biggest trash talkers of all time, some of the best and brightest names in recent NBA history come to mind.

    And the prominence of big-time players is for good reason, as trash talkers need to be able to back up their talk with solid play in order to achieve any significant level of effectiveness.

    Consequently, individuals like Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett have been able to play both a physical and mental game on the court, using their trash talk to further bypass the opposition.

    But he's not the only one, as the following slides will rank him among his peers—the biggest trash talkers in NBA history.



    *Writer's note: This article might appear to favor recent players due to the fact that their trash-talking exploits have been better documented.

No. 10: Ron Artest

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    Ron Artest is certainly one of the more eccentric players in the NBA.

    And he certainly brings his unusual demeanor to the court, frequently jawing with opponents and never showing a reluctance to get physical or even fight.

    Moreover, as a league-renowned defensive stopper, he has regularly been in the ears of the game's best players, successfully trash talking with the likes Paul Pierce and his now-teammate Kobe Bryant.

    However, Artest is willing to jaw with lower level players as well, and he even has called trash talking fun.

    But he does have certain standards, as Artest has made statements to the press writing off lesser opponents as not being worthy of his talk, while going as far as to claim that he hates playing against certain bad teams and their gimmicks.

    So by constantly being physical and bringing his outlandish brand of talk, Ron Artest has been able to play above his already-impressive level of talent and perform as one of the best trash talkers of all time.

No. 9: Rasheed Wallace

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    Rasheed Wallace is an individual who never seemed to stop talking on the court.

    Whether he was trash talking his opponents, the refs or even his teammates in practice, Wallace became well-known for never holding his tongue.

    In fact, that is one of the biggest reasons why he was able to rack up the most career technical fouls as a player.

    So while he does draw the line at commenting on other players' personal lives, Sheed has still earned the reputation as one of the biggest trash talkers in NBA history. 

No. 8: Gary Payton

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    Gary Payton was one of the premier point guards in NBA history, but he also developed into one the league's better trash talkers of all time.

    In fact, Payton even had had a strategy laid out for jawing, as he would be aggressive, while trying to get his opponents into foul trouble.

    Moreover, he cited that he would target some players, like Bobby Hurley, stay away from others, like Michael Jordan, and that almost no topics were off limits.

    And by combining this well-thought-out and precisely executed strategy with his impressive talent and defensive tenacity, the Glove easily ranks among the NBA's biggest trash talkers ever.

No. 7: Dennis Rodman

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    Before Ron Artest showed up, Dennis Rodman was the NBA's resident crazy-man, known for his wild on-and-off-court demeanor.

    Nevertheless, he was very similar to Artest in a few ways.

    First of all, the defensively oriented Rodman used his trash taking to bring his physical style of play to a new level.

    He would regularly taunt and jaw with all of his opponents, whether they be mid-level players or even superstars.

    Moreover, the loud-mouthed forward even made a foray into professional wrestling, where he was able showcase his trash talking to an even larger degree.

    And by transcending the realm of basketball to become a pop culture icon—largely due to his willingness to talk trash and get on his opponents' nerves—Rodman is undoubtedly one of the biggest trash talkers of all time.

No. 6: Charles Barkley

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    Now an unabashedly opinionated studio analyst for TNT's NBA coverage, Charles Barkley has carried his trash-talking abilities over to his post-playing career.

    However, during his time as a player, Barkley was known to talk with the best.

    Furthermore, he saw no players as off limits, evidenced by his going face-to-face with Michael Jordan and his willingness to get under the skin of often-larger opponents and, if necessary, take it to the next level.

    And this do-whatever-it-takes approach to trash talking is what led Barkley to film his now-infamous Nike "I am not a role model" commercial.

    So when one looks at his continuing body of work, it's clear that Barkley was one of the NBA's biggest and best trash talkers of all time.

No. 5: Reggie Miller

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    Reggie Miller typifies the type of player who could regularly get under his opponents' skin.

    On the court he was always talking trash and being overly dramatic, all while trying to bait his opponents into making stupid fouls.

    What's more, he would regularly step up to the plate and up his performance when others tried to jaw back at him.

    Perhaps the most famous examples of this were his regular back-and-forths with both New York Knicks guard John Starks (who once headbutted Miller) and Knicks celebrity fan Spike Lee, who Reggie would regularly taunt (i.e. flash the choke sign) and talk trash to following big plays.

    And although Reggie now tries to deny this past, and present himself as a clean-cut player in his current position as a commentator for TNT, there is no doubt that he was one the game's biggest trash talkers ever.

No. 4: Larry Bird

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    While Larry Bird is one of the best and most-accomplished players in NBA history, his trash talking is often an under-rated aspect of his game.

    In fact, throughout his career, prior to tip off at opposing arenas, Bird would have the other team's ball boys tell him what the scoring record in that building was, in order to let that organization know that they couldn't stop him.

    Moreover, his talk carried over from regular season play, as he would regularly jaw at his opponents in the All-Star Weekend Three-Point Shootout.

    And given that his Wikipedia page even has a whole section devoted to his trash-talking exploits, Larry Bird definitely ranks among the biggest trash talkers ever.

No. 3: Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant entered the league as one of the best young players the NBA has seen in a long time.

    Moreover, he has developed to become one of the best players in the post-Michael Jordan NBA, winning a total of five NBA Championships, and now looking for his sixth.

    However, Kobe is very aware of all of those facts, something which has led him to become one of the biggest trash talkers in NBA history.

    One of his most glaring examples of this was when he, as a 22-year-old, met with a then-retired Michael Jordan at the request of coach Phil Jackson.

    Kobe's first comment to Jordan was, "I can take you one-on-one."

    And since then, Bryant has jawed with other rival stars of the league, including the likes of Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James.

    In fact, he has even exchanged trash talk with the president of the United States.

    So with that track record, it's clear the Kobe is one of the biggest trash talkers in NBA history.

No. 2: Kevin Garnett

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    Kevin Garnett is well-known around the NBA for his trash talking.

    As a matter of fact, in a players poll hosted by Sports Illustrated last season, Garnett was voted as the league's biggest trash talker.

    But that's not all, as KG not only won that poll, but he received a whopping 62 percent of the vote.

    And that was prior to this year's fiasco about whether or not he called Charlie Villanueva a cancer patient.

    So when one considers those accounts, coupled with his now-famous taunting and jawing at players like Jose Calderon, Channing Frye, Tim Duncan and Jerryd Bayless, one thing is certain—Kevin Garnett is among the biggest trash talkers the NBA has ever seen.

No. 1: Michael Jordan

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    Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the best player in NBA history, and his competitiveness was rivaled by none during his time in the league.

    So given that his competitive urges led him to engage in some epic trash-talking battles, and his skills and talent allowed him to more than back up his talk, while rising up to answer the jawing of others, Jordan easily takes home the title as the league's all-time best trash talker.