NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and the 20 Dirtiest Players in the League

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and the 20 Dirtiest Players in the League

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game against Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on April 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or u
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Is Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers a dirty player?

    In March of last year, Sports Illustrated released a survey of nearly 200 NBA players in which Kobe was ranked as the fifth dirtiest player in the league.

    That's interesting because he hasn't fouled out of a single regular-season game in the last two seasons.

    Were the players polled motivated by a bit of jealousy?  Or is their some evidence for calling him dirty?

    Either way, if the players say it, he makes this list, along with 19 others...

20: Shaquille O'Neal

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    PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 28:  Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Celtics 88-71.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Shaq's been on the wrong end of countless dirty plays, but he's dished out his fair share of elbows and cheap shots as well.

    A few years ago, he would've been higher on the list.  Seeing how he's rarely (if ever) on the court anymore, he can't be any higher than 20.

    His trademark elbow clearouts wouldn't bother me much if so many of them weren't clearly aimed at the faces of his defenders.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

19: Sasha Vujacic

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14:  Sasha Vujacic #20 of the New Jersey Nets waves to the crowd as he enters the game in his first return since being traded by the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO US
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    "The Machine" could probably be seen as dirty in the same way that girls in a cat fight are.

    His man-to-man defense is infuriating.  He gets up under players' arms and starts tapping every part of the offensive players body.  

    He gets away with countless hand checks and then cries as if his dog just died when he gets called for a foul.

    For the record, the ridiculous flop and ensuing antics on the floor from Goran Dragic is the most reprehensible aspect of this video.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

18: Brendan Haywood

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    DALLAS, TX - MARCH 10:  Forward Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks is fouled by Brendan Haywood #33 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on March 10, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Just look at that picture.  Brendan Haywood does that a lot.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

17: Joel Przybilla

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 02:  Chris Andersen #11 of the Denver Nuggets is fouled by Joel Pryzbilla #10 of the Charlotte Bobcats at the Pepsi Center on March 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading a
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Joel Przybilla is constantly shoving, elbowing and just generally playing dirty inside.

    Unfortunately, Joel "The Thrilla" Przybilla is so low-profile that no one has taken the team to catalog his dirtiness on YouTube.

16: Jeff Foster

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    NEW YORK - JANUARY 02: T.J. Ford #5 of the Indiana Pacers and teammate Jeff Foster #10 dive over Chris Duhon #1 of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden January 2, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Same story here as the Przybilla slide (YouTube reference and everything).

15: Raja Bell

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 23:  Guard Raja Bell #19 of the Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center on February 23, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Raja Bell's reputation as a dirty player is well-known among fans and players.

    The funny thing about most of the NBA's defensive specialists: they're all dirty.

    Bell's clothesline on Kobe Bryant is one of the most notorious moments of his career.  The funniest part of this video is the fact that none of Kobe's teammates go off after this play.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

14: James Posey

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 11:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks draws a foul from James Posey #41 of the Indiana Pacers at Philips Arena on December 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Another notoriously dirty baller, James Posey gets away with a lot because he has the reputation of a defensive specialist.

    This video is simply amazing.  Can anyone tell me why Posey immediately put his hands up after spearing Luol Deng as if he didn't do anything?

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

13: Manu Ginobili

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 23:  Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during a break in the against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on March 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Spurs 115-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ac
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Manu Ginobili may not be horrible in terms of traditional dirtiness (although he does dish out the occasional cheap shot).

    With Manu, it's his flopping that is dirty and offensive.  The song on this video is fairly dumb, and not as clever as the rapper probably thinks it is, but it does effectively demonstrate this point.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

12: Paul Pierce

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics earns a technical foul for yelling at referee Mark Ayotte #56 during a game against the Chicago Bulls at United Center on April 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknow
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Like Manu, Paul Pierce features a lovely mix of dirtiness and flopping.

    If this video depicted the only thing he'd ever done in his career, he would still make my list as one of the NBA's dirtiest players.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

11: Zaza Pachulia

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    ATLANTA - APRIL 28:  Brandon Jennings #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks is fouled hard by Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2010 in Atlanta, Georg
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Like a lot of the big men on this list, Zaza's well known for his uncanny knack for knocking helpless players out of mid-air without even pretending to go for the ball. 

10: Andres Nocioni

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 27: Andres Nocioni #5 of the Philadelphia 76ers in action during the game against the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center on October 27, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    In the same survey I referenced in the introduction of this slideshow, Andres Nocioni came in third.

    There's certainly something to be said for that many of your peers calling you dirty.

9: Kobe Bryant

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    DALLAS, TX - MARCH 12:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Center on March 12, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consen
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    I kind of came to Kobe's defense in the introduction of this slideshow.  However, there certainly is some evidence to back up his reputation as a dirty player.

    I think a lot of what happens in this video is incidental, but a lot isn't.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

8: Kenyon Martin

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 28:  Kenyon Martin #4 of the Denver Nuggets battles with Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks for control of the ball during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 28, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets deafeated the Hawks 100-
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Kenyon Martin carries himself as an absolute punk on the court.  Elbows, shoves, cheap shots, grabs, trips; you name it, he does it.  His jump shot is so ugly it's dirty too.

    Yes, there's certainly some acting in this video, but it's also a good example of Kenyon Martin's general basketball philosophy.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

7: Chris Paul

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 26:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors fouls Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets at Oracle Arena on January 26, 2011 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Chris Paul has some kind of little-man syndrome, Napoleon Complex, etc.  Basically, he tries to compensate for his lack of size with cheap shots, shoves and elbows.

    Look at that picture.  Is anyone else amazed that he's acting like he's being fouled while trying to rip Stephen Curry's arm off his body?

    And oh yeah, there's the nut punch on this video.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

6: Kendrick Perkins

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 30:  Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 30, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Thunder defeated the Suns 116-98.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Kendrick Perkins' scowls, cry-baby faces and stomps when a foul is called on him are all reasons to put him on the list.

    Plus, he plays dirty.

5: Reggie Evans

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 21:  Chris Andersen #11 of the Denver Nuggets battles for position with Reggie Evans #30 of the Toronto Raptors at the Pepsi Center on March 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Reggie Evans is known for doing every dirty play in the book.  But what he does in this video is absolutely inexcusable.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

4: Ron Artest

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20:  Andre Miller #24 of the Portland Trail Blazers and Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers chase a loose ball at the Staples Center on March 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Does anyone really need an explanation on this one?

    As is true with most defensive specialists, its more about getting away with illegal contact than actual defensive skill.

    Artest provides countless examples of plays like the one in this video.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

3: Kevin Garnett

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 01:  Jeff Green #8 and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics against Josh Smith #5 and Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Nobody in the league tries harder to act like a punk for every second of every game.

    It's not enough that he plays incredibly dirty, but he also spews thousands of profanities each game as if they're the only words in his vocabulary.  And he always tries to pick fights with the weakest players on the opposing team.

    I'll never forget a Nuggets-Timberwolves playoff game I attended in Denver when Kevin Garnett went after the ridiculously hardcore Jon Barry.

    Here is an entire playlist someone put together to show what is rapidly becoming the best part of Garnett's game.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

2: Anderson Varejao

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 29:  Anthony Parker #18 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds back teammate Anderson Varejao after he was called for a technical foul against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 29, 2010 in Ch
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Anyone who can watch Anderson Varejao play for 10 seconds without getting angry is a more patient man than me.

    He has a legitimate case for being the league's biggest flopper, dirtiest player and for having the most offensive hair.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

1: Matt Barnes

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 31:  Matt Barnes #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers exchange words with Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  Barnes and Terry were ejectd from the game.  NOTE TO USER: U
    Harry How/Getty Images

    In terms of dirtiness, Matt Barnes is a perfect (terrible) combination of Kenyon Martin, Raja Bell, Kevin Garnett and Ron Artest.

    He's been in scores of scuffles, pushes people for no reason, hits players when they're not looking, and has generally acted like a fool for a significant portion of his career.

    EXAMPLE OF DIRTINESS

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