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The Art of Talking Trash September 13, 2007

Posted by Marquis Chapman in Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, College Basketball, College Football, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports.

Some do it every now and then, some refrain from it, and some live by it.  In sports, trash talking is the norm and can be heard at almost every sporting event.  There are many different forms of trash talking as well as different types of trash talkers, but one thing is certain, trash talking is truly an art.

The idea behind trash talking is to take your opponent out of his game by constantly insulting him or reminding him of a great play you made against him.  Your opponent becomes more concerned about the trash talking than focusing on the actual game.  When done correctly, it is a beautiful thing to witness. This should be a player’s #1 goal when talking trash.

There are many different types of trash talkers.  The most common types are the loud mouths. They often forget the objective of trash talking. Loud mouths don’t talk trash to gain a competitive advantage, but rather do it because they simply just like to hear themselves talk.  Players that use this method include Terrell Owens, Gary Payton, Reggie Miller, Shannon Sharpe, and Chad Johnson. Users of this method never seem to shut up.  They talk trash to opponents, teammates, and sometimes to themselves.  Although loud mouths talk a lot, they are usually good players, and back up everything they say.

Others use a more subtle approach when trash talking. They’re called the quite trash talkers.  This type of trash talker comes across as a player that would never talk trash, but will say things under their breath just loud enough for you to hear it. This can be very aggravating to the opponent, especially if it continues throughout the entire game. Larry Bird was a master at this. He would make a great play and literally come up to his opponent and whisper in their ear, reminding them how great the play was.  This method proved to be very effective for Bird, as he provoked the great Dr. J to take a swing on him during a game.  David Eckstein also uses this method.

As mentioned earlier, the goal of trash talking should always be to gain a competitive advantage.  Michael Jordan is a perfect example of a competitive advantage trash talker.  Jordan was a notorious trash talker and not only talked to his opposition, but to fans as well. Perhaps the most prominent victim of Jordan’s trash talking was John Starks.  Jordan and Starks would go back and forth the entire game talking trash.  Starks however, would get caught in the hype of all the talking, and completely forget about the real task at hand, which was to try to contain Jordan.  Before long, Starks would still be talking trash and Jordan would be on his way to another 40 point game and a win.

The title of the greatest trash talker of all time has to go to the great Muhammad Ali. What made Ali the greatest trash talker of  all time was his  ability to use a combination of the different trash talking techniques.  He was a loud mouth, but he often gained a competitive advantage.  He would sometimes be a quite trash talker as well, although this was extremely rare. Ali was notorious for saying outrageous things about his opponents to the media.  If his opponent decided to participate in the trash talking, Ali knew he had already won the fight before stepping in the ring.

Ali never let up once he began trash talking.  Joe Frasier  can contest to that.  Frasier is probably the one opponent, of Ali’s that got it the worst.  There have been reports that Frasier still has animosity towards Ali for the things that Ali said during their career.

My all time favorite trash talking moment of Ali has to be during the bout between Ali and George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle.  Foreman, who was a very powerful puncher, had Ali against the ropes and gave him multiple powerful shots to the body. The shots had to hurt, but Ali whispered in Foreman’s ear and said, “Is that all you got?”  Foreman later told reporters that he was shocked when Ali said this.  This is a prime example of getting inside the head of your opponent and taking them out of their game.  The most important thing to note about Ali however, is no matter how much trash he talked, he always seemed to back it up.

The art of trash talking is a skill that can help a player or hurt him.  Talking trash should always be used to gain some type of advantage and not just strictly for show.  When you forget the main objective of trash talking, then you can sometimes take yourself out of the game mentally. But please remember, if you’re going to do it, back it up!



1. The Mixtape Monster - September 13, 2007

EXCELLENT post. Love it.

Gary Payton is my favorite trash talker of all time. Not scared of anyone. I remember in the ’96 Finals in one of the games the Sonics won, he was all over Jordan’s ass and you could tell it was pissing Jordan off to no end. I always admired him for having the guts to talk so much shit to the greatest.

2. FemaleFan - September 13, 2007

Good insight on “The Art of Talking Trash.” I get tired when players talk trash to each other especially when it escalates into fights. When it gets to that point, it takes away from the game even if it makes media highlights and headlines the next day. I can see where players use trash talking to gain a mental competitive edge. But it takes extreme discipline for players to restrain themselves from participating in trash talking. Unfortunately sometimes when they don’t, some fans see this as backing down and lose respect for the player. It just shows that these players are focused and have chosen not to participate in trash talking. There are those however, as you mentioned, where you just wish they would shut up because they come across too extreme, even border line crazy, ex: Terrell Owens. He talks so much trash I think he got into his own head and messed it up! Yeah, yeah, he does back it up most of the time. One thing about the great Mohammad Ali is that even before he got in the ring, his trash talking served another purpose. It was a form of promotion and entertainment. You never get tired of his poetic style. Perhaps that’s where the trash talking should stay – off the court, outside the ring, off the field and off the track. Although I guess for some fans it’s an added bonus to the game to see the trash talking and possibly even a fight. Not a great message for the kids who are watching.

3. K.C. - September 13, 2007

Trashtalking is part of the game and always will be. Always admired the quiet confident style of Bird how he would whisper and wink at his opponet. Still miss M.J hitting that baseline jumper and then talking trash to the opponets bench as he ran back on defense. Let me state that I have always been a Gary Payton fan love his game, especially his defense Gary takes trash talking to a whole new level. He can get real personal and down right nasty(ask Lamar Odom). Chad Johnson is more amusing than anything else,never personal or mean spirited. Nomatter what you think of him you are a little curious as to what hell do next and you got to admit the guy can flat out play he runs some mean routes. Bottom line to talk trash 3 componets have to be in order first and foremost you must be good and confident. Secondly youre behavior must be accepted by your coach and team. How many times have you seen a interview with a player and the sportscaster will ask a player what he thought of his teammates comments and the player will hedge a little bit or say that the particuliar player says crazy things sometimes.That lets you know that sometimes teammates dont condone trashtalking comments.Lastly you must have a track record of backing up comments and coming through in the clutch.

4. Marquis Chapman - September 13, 2007

Gary Payton is proabably the most hardcore trash talker of all time. He doesn’t hold anything back and didn’t back down from MJ.

I agree with your 3 components of trash talking. If only Terrell Owens was subscribed to All Talk Sports.

5. tsos20 - September 14, 2007

I remember Scottie Pippen telling Karl Malone, “the mailman doesn’t deliver on Sunday”.
The Sultan on Sports

6. Marquis Chapman - September 14, 2007

I was kind of shocked to hear that Pippen would talk trash to Karl Malone, but that was a classic line.

7. Frankie - September 14, 2007

Drug cheats suck.

BOYCOTT all TV sport theater acts.

NFL to NBA to MLB to Olympics to college football.

8. Chinaman - September 19, 2007

Mundine mastered the art of talking trash a long time ago. He is a quality boxer though. Calzaghe and Kessler are both great. http://miketysonthegreat.blogspot.com/

9. Psyclone - February 18, 2008

All those guys are amateurs, Chinaman! Ali was the “godfather” of trash-talk and set the standard by which all trash-talking must be measured…how it undermines the opponent/opposing team and ultimately gives the trash-talker victory in that particular contest/game. By that standard, today’s #1 trash-talker has to be light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, whose phenomenal TKO win over the heavily favored Felix “Tito” Trinidad still stands as the consummate recent example of EFFECTIVE sports trash-talk! Everything the guys you mention may have done absolutely pales in comparison!!

10. Karthick - January 18, 2009

This is fantastic stuff.Thanks for sharing and you should add more to this!

11. pop weisel - July 14, 2010

Talk shit and i’ll clap ya bitch-ass up, you faggot ass mufuka’s!

12. Gian Ramos - June 28, 2011

Trash talk cannot only be heard in a sports event but even in the work place. There are people who will psyche you out and aim to put you out of the game. Maybe you cannot talk dirty like these people but you can show them, by staying on top of your game. After all, it’s all about winning.
Anyway, thank you so much for this post!:)

13. Joe Blow - November 18, 2011

The word is “quiet”. What the heck is a “quite” talker?. Jeez, if you are going to WRITE a column about words, you should at least be careful about spelling them.

14. why kids love cats - April 11, 2013

Hello mates, good post and pleasant urging commented at this
place, I am truly enjoying by these.

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