The Art of Talking Trash September 13, 2007Posted 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!