Sometimes a sports figure throws a bit of shade that can only make you shake your head.
After all, the professional sporting world adheres to a strict code. No disrespect. Little trash talk outside the lines. Keep it professional and classy or risk inciting the rage of the team that pays you, the media and fans. This looks bad and might impact the wallet or purse.
So anytime some legitimate shade comes up, heads turn. This dramatic breach of code doesn't just entertain, it shows something even better—humanity. When the gloves come off and the trash talk flies, the robotic going-through-the-motions chatter goes out the window.
So yeah, recent shade deserves a spotlight. This is a guided tour through some of the nastiest shade slung by notable figures.
"Chuck, you were almost a champion."
—Kevin Garnett to Charles Barkley
Hit them where it hurts, KG.
Inside the NBA is the best sports show running these days because of guys like Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal.
Adding Kevin Garnett to the mix only put things over the top. See, Barkley tried to joke about Garnett's Hall of Fame candidacy. Didn't work:
That's an , folks. Garnett still has a shot. Chuck, not so much. Hence Garnett laughing it up.
"Referee No. 51 shouldn't even be able to wear a zebra jersey ever again. He shouldn't even be able to work at f--king Foot Locker."
—Travis Kelce on NFL referees
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is not a happy man, as one can see from a quote captured by ESPN.com's Adam Teicher.
Kelce's Chiefs took an 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
There, laundry hit the field late, a holding penalty on tackle Eric Fisher which pushed back Kansas City's two-point attempt, which the team failed to convert.
One could argue referees shouldn't toss flags so late on iffy stuff in such a situation. But then we wouldn't get creative quotes like this and Foot Locker would miss out on a bit of free advertising.
"If you start something, I'll finish it."
—Kevin Durant after his first game against the Thunder
With the stroke of a pen, Kevin Durant didn't just leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Golden State Warriors—he became one of the most hated villains in sports.
Durant fully flexed this new look back in November when he dropped 39 points on the hapless Thunder.
He then hit the postgame press conference like a shark looking for blood in the water, dropping the above quote and dissing Thunder center Enes Kanter, as captured by Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News:
Maybe Russell Westbrook and the Thunder started it. Maybe they didn't.
Honestly, who cares? A peek into the psyche of those involved in this newfound rivalry is nothing short of great.
"We just had a bunch of bitches on the roster, that's why we didn't win games," Bennett said. "Coaches liked the bitches."
—Martellus Bennett on his time with the Bears
Go ahead, ask New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett how much he liked playing for the Chicago Bears.
Actually don't, he'll just tell you.
In addition to the above quote, provided by CBSSports.com's Matt Eurich, Bennett put former quarterback Jay Cutler on blast: "Some people that you want to be the leader is not the guy that is the leader. Everyone in the locker room knows this is not the leader, but this is what you want the face of the team to look like."
Hey, you gain some confidence when linking up with Tom Brady while your former team wins two games.
"Dos Anjos has a bruise on his foot. Did you see it? It's a bruise. Ice. Ibuprofen. If I jumped under an X-ray, the doctor would slap me, and say, ‘What are you doing, kid? Get out of here. Stop this.'"
—Conor McGregor on Rafael dos Anjos
Conor McGregor is an endless well of great trash talk.
That said, it is stuff like the above quote that sets him apart from anyone else who slings words. Like his work in the Octagon, McGregor is a tactician when it comes to trash talk, getting into the minds of opponents.
Or dissecting those who back down. (Warning: Video contains profanity):
McGregor, while taking aim at Nick Diaz and others, tore apart Rafael dos Anjos in the video above, the quote a scathing take on Dos Anjos backing out because he broke his foot.
McGregor sees an opening and takes it. This skill could make an entire list of this length all about him.
"As a player, he's still a good player. I'll say that about him. I don't respect him as a man though."
—Jalen Ramsey on Steve Smith Sr.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie defensive back Jalen Ramsey doesn't respect his elders.
The No. 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft got to encounter Smith in Week 3. His Jaguars lost 19-17 while Smith caught eight passes for 87 yards.
Ramsey claimed after the game he shut down Smith, even laughing off the idea the veteran confronted him after time expired, according to NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman: "What do you think? You tell me. Any time I lined up on him—y'all go watch that. Y'all tell me who got in whose head. He came up to me after the game. He's an old man acting like that."
Our guess? Ramsey is just getting started when it comes to making lists like this.
"Last year, he was talking a gang of trash to Chris Paul. He said, 'Steph used to be intimidated by you. But you know what? Those days are over. He's busting your ass every time we see you.'"
—Western Conference head coach on Draymond Green's trash talk
Golden's State's Draymond Green is the NBA equivalent of McGregor.
When he's not wildly flailing appendages, Green gets into the minds of his opponents like few others.
Hence Green's comments to Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, remembered by a coach and transcribed by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
The coach went on to describe the aftermath of the trash talk: "And then it wasn't three minutes after that when Steph had that move on the baseline where he put CP in the 'Matrix,' had Chris falling all over the place on the court. Draymond even talks trash in practice to his teammates."
Enough said—unless you're Draymond Green.
"Washington needs to get their money back."
—Dez Bryant on Josh Norman
The Week 12 edition of Thursday Night Football wasn't the most entertaining game in the world, but the encounter between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys (a 31-26 win for the latter) produced some of the year's best trash talk.
Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant and Redskins corner Josh Norman got into an altercation on the field. After the game, the quotes started to fly.
Bryant dropped the above quote, according to the New York Post's Bart Hubbuch, then took the beef straight to social media:
Hey, calling out an opponent directly on Twitter is serious business.
Provided nothing crazy happens and both guys stay in the NFC East, this is just the beginning.
"I'm gonna get his ass back. Straight up."
—Russell Westbrook on Zaza Pachulia
The beef between Westbrook and his Thunder and the Warriors doesn't limit itself to just Durant.
Rightfully so, really. Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia dropped Westbrook with a wicked foul recently, which the star point guard didn't take too kindly to.
Reporters pointed out Pachulia stood over him, too. Westbrook responded in kind, according to ESPN.com's Royce Young: "No, I didn't see that until just now, but I don't play that game. I'm gonna get his ass back. Whenever that is, I don't know what it's going to be, but I don't play that game."
Anybody ready for a rematch?
"He got the same agent as me, so when I see his ass in Atlanta I'ma beat his ass."
—Aqib Talib on Harry Douglas
Note to Aqib Talib's agent—don't host a party with all your clients.
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib took exception to an iffy-looking block by Tennessee Titans wideout Harry Douglas back in Week 14, which prompted one gem of an interview, captured by Ryan Greene of CBS Denver:
Talib has always been one to sling shade left and right. Outright threats of violence are a "whoa" moment, though.
"He wore it in front of me so I had to snatch it off him."
—Aqib Talib on Michael Crabtree's chain
Can we just stick with Talib for a moment?
Look at the above quote. The guy swore something, followed through and talked some more after. Amazing.
Greene was on the scene again:
Background—Talib told Oakland Raiders wideout Michael Crabtree he'd snatch his chain if he saw it again. Silly, but whatever. Crabtree wore it again in Week 17. Talib snatched it.
He warned you, Crabs.
"Last year you couldn't name three people on my team...and I led the league in assists."
—Rajon Rondo on his old team
Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo isn't afraid to let loose with a little friendly fire.
Embroiled in a quest for playing time this year, Rondo has felt the need to defend himself publicly.
He did so with the above quote, downright blasting everyone on the Sacramento Kings from a year ago.
It's not fair to the Kings. NBA fans can name DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and...and...Willie Cauley-Stein. Boom.
"I don't give a [expletive] about his social media. I don't follow him. Send some followers my way, Antonio. I've got better content."
—Martellus Bennett on Antonio Brown
Bennett's Patriots meet the Steelers in the AFC title game Sunday.
Pittsburgh has had a bit of a controversy surrounding it after wideout Antonio Brown posted a Facebook Live stream the week prior, which caught Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin cursing.
The Patriots don't seem to care about Tomlin's comments. Bennett clearly doesn't care about the situation. Reporters asked him about it Thursday and he responded with the above, recorded by NESN's Zack Cox.
That's one way to bury a storyline and focus on the game.
"That's it for her. For sure, she's going to retire."
—Amanda Nunes on Ronda Rousey
Amanda Nunes flattened Ronda Rousey in 48 seconds at the end of December at UFC 207.
Rousey, arguably the most recognizable figure in MMA, took her second loss in a row and left Nunes alone to chat about the star's future.
As one can see above, it wasn't too kind. Nunes went on to wonder why Rousey kept subjecting herself to this if she was already rich, according to USA Today's Josh Peter: "She's a millionaire already. Why does she want to keep doing that? You know, keep hurting herself."
Nunes will either coerce Rousey into a comeback story or affirm what many already think.
—Bill Belichick on an AFC East rival
When he actually wants to speak, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick can be one of the most devastating shade-throwers on the planet.
Take the above. His Patriots, sitting on a bye, started preparing to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Which was funny, because the Steelers still had to play the Miami Dolphins in the opening round.
Miami never stood a chance, going down 30-12. Belichick would know—his Patriots smacked around the Dolphins twice in AFC East, 31-24 and 35-14. Brady wasn't even on the field for that first encounter.
This is probably bulletin-board material for the Dolphins next year. But ask Belichick and, well, you know.