Trash-talking has become a lost art in today’s NBA, even though it was an essential aspect of the game once upon a time. It stirred up numerous rivalries between players and teams, playing a major part in that era of the NBA being labeled the golden one. Nowadays, trash-talking has been reduced to the minimum due to the league being very strict with their rules, instructing referees to punish the smallest acts of chirping. But even through all the restrictions, a handful of players still manage to squeeze in a couple of words and shenanigans in order to get a psychological advantage on his opponent.
One of those players is most definitely the Jazz forward from Australia, Joe Ingles. Ingles is far from the most physically imposing player, but he has a way of getting his way on the court, all while being known for provocating and trolling his opponents. So who better to name some of the players even Ingles wouldn’t trash talk in today’s NBA. Joe named a couple of names while talking with Duncan Robinson on Robinson’s “The Long Shot” podcast:
“Russ(Westbrook) is one of those guys; you rub him the wrong way or whatever say the wrong thing or get into it with him on a dead-ball, whatever it is. It takes him one second, and he can go 20,20 and 20; we’ve seen that before…I ain’t messing with James Johnson, like no way. Say whatever you wanna say to me. I’m running the other way.”Joe Ingles, via The Long Shot
Russell Westbrook has been notorious for years as one of those players that bring the maximum intensity every night, causing him to get into often individual battles and altercations. Sometimes he can get greedy and lose the game for his team, but he can also explode and single-handily win you a game just because he felt motivated by some talking from his opponent.
The other player Ingles mentioned, James Johnson, strikes a different kind of fear into players around the league. You don’t mess with Westbrook because he can scorch you on the basketball court, but Johnson simply scares you with his presence. He is the unanimous guy you avoid clashing at all cost due to Johnson having a black belt in mixed martial arts. When you add that 6’7”, 240 lbs frame into impressive fighting skills, it creates a dude you won’t even think of trash-talking. It would have been interesting to see these two guys in the ’80s with basically no restrictions regarding trash-talking.