Payton was arguably Seattle’s greatest-ever player and also had one of the biggest mouths. But he earned the right to say what he wanted because he was on another level. There weren’t many athletes who had the confidence to sneer at Shaquille O’Neal. But Payton had no qualms about shutting the Lakers’ star down.
He once infamously told Jamie Feick that he wouldn’t be in the league the following year. This was true but it was a harsh thing to say. Payton also admitted that he if knew anything about anybody’s family members he went after them without hesitation. This made him one of the sport’s most notorious trash-talkers (via USA Today Sports).
There’s a good reason why many rival fans hated Wallace. The four-time All-Star was one of the most vocal trash-talkers that the NBA has ever seen. Wallace spent the bulk of his career with the Trail Blazers but won a ring in Detroit. If there was an NBA award for trash talking, Wallace would have been an annual contender.
He trolled opponents on the court and roared at rivals on the bench. Meanwhile, he antagonized referees and officials when things didn’t go his way. One game against the Memphis Grizzlies saw him at his best when he destroyed Rudy Gay. Wallace didn’t care who he insulted but he gave his team confidence (via SBNation).
Early Garnett fans wouldn’t have expected him to become one of the league’s biggest trash-talkers. But that’s precisely what happened as he settled into his NBA career. The former Boston star was responsible for one of the most disgusting trash talk lines of all time. He infamously told Carmelo Anthony that his wife Lala tasted “like honey-nut Cheerios.”
This was Garnett’s standout moment but he had many more. He famously went back and forth with Charles Barkley and trolled the Suns’ icon about his lack of rings. The best trash talkers also back their words up on the court. This 15-time All-Star was an NBA champion and can say whatever he wants (via The Ringer).
Michael Jordan believes Bird was the most savage trash-talker he ever faced. The Celtics star didn’t hold back with some legendary lines. During one three-point contest, he asked his rivals who was playing for second. Then he backed his words up by winning the shooting title. Bird’s trash talk ignited fights and brawls because he infuriated everybody.
The Celtics’ hero didn’t care who he spoke to because everybody felt the heat. One iconic display against the Hawks tells everything we need to know because Bird dropped 60 points. He kept repeating, ‘Who wants it next’ as he demolished Atlanta. Bird talked the talk and he also walked the walk (via Viral Hoops).