Despite having a front row seat to the Motherf*cker Show last night, Andrew Bynum clearly still hasn’t gotten the memo. While Kobe gave out 40 in his Lucha Libre mask, Derek Fisher snapped out of year-long stupor as a patsy, and Ron Artest calmly told Kobe that if he wanted to f*ck around, he’d f*ck around, Bynum mustered a 9-minute, 0-point, 1-rebound performance.
If last night’s display of Motherf*cker-hood wasn’t enough to teach the Lakers’ young center, there’s only one thing that could show him the way: a list of the Top 25 Motherf*ckers of All Time.
25. Alonzo Mourning
By the time ‘Zo won a chip, he wasn’t the Heat’s go-to motherf*cker anymore. But those years when he wore sweatbands on both of his wrists and a Fresh Prince flattop, he was a different breed of ballplayer. Plus, the “What the f*ck are you doing” look that he gave to Jeff Van Gundy when he was clinging onto ‘Zo’s leg during the Knicks-Heat fracas was vintage motherf*cker.
24. Dennis Johnson
As one of 16 kids in a single household growing up in South Central LA, DJ was a tough son of a bitch. After high school, he took a job driving a forklift for $2.75/hour, and playing street ball after work. That’s where he first gained a reputation for the same smothering defense that made him one of the toughest motherf*ckers to score on in the League.
23. Allen Iverson (& the ’01 Sixers)
While this year’s Denver squad might be the biggest group of motherf*ckers still alive in the playoffs, they aren’t on par with the ’01 Sixers. In fact, there hasn’t been a team like them since. There was basically no talent on that squad with the exception of Allen Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo. But Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, and George Lynch became the bane of the Pacers, Raptors and Bucks existence, sinking every open jumper and playing like swarming gnats on D.
22. Kevin Garnett
As we said yesterday, KG is the posterboy for motherf*ckers everywhere. His edict to the rest of the C’s last year to block every single shot taken after a whistle blew was the ultimate motherf*cker move. There was no real impact on the scoreboard by doing that, but it proved that he didn’t care about who was winning and losing at a particular time. He just wanted to get in his opponent’s head.
21. Xavier McDaniel
X-Man gets on this list on looks alone. He’s built like the Terminator. The contrast of his bald head and bright, cat-like eyes would make any sane man put their head down and walk the other way. Plus, he took Shawn Kemp under his wing, molding the Reign Man into a human jackhammer. That’s what happens when you witness moments like these first-hand.
20. Ben Wallace
No matter what profession Big Ben chose, he would have been one of the Top 25 Motherf*ckers of All Time doing that. He’s just that intimidating. This is a guy who will always get what he wants, whether you want to give it to him or not.
19. Antonio Davis/Dale Davis
The top motherf*cker tandem with the same last name. Realize that Reggie Miller was able to get away with his antics – the choke gesture at MSG, the flailing arms-in-the-air celebrations, the excessive trash talk – because of these two guys. That being said, if you pitted the Davis “brothers” against each other, I’d say that Dale wins out 9 times out of 10.
18. Charles Barkley
One of the only motherf*ckers who would look Shaq in the face and actually think it’s a good idea to swing at him. Brad Miller jogged away from the Diesel after nearly getting his head chopped off. Chris Dudley went so far as to throw a ball as O’Neal’s calf. And Sir Charles wasn’t even in his prime motherf*cker years back then. Back when he played in Philly, he was the Sixers’ best scorer, best rebounder, and their top enforcer at the same time. That’s a bad motherf*cker.
17. Scottie Pippen
Pippen’s a puzzling case – in some ways, he deserves to be Top 10 on this list because he was one of the most frustrating guys to play defense in the history of this game. But his moodiness during MJ’s years on the White Sox were almost the antithesis of “motherf*cker”. Obviously his episodes as a bad man far outweigh the clips of him whining on the bench, refusing to check in to a game only to be saved by Toni Kukoc.
16. Terry Cummings
Terry Cummings grew into his own as a motherf*cker. He wasn’t always that way. When he first came into the League, he was a prolific scoring power forward from DePaul, winning rookie of the year at 23.7 points, 10.4 boards per night. But he really blossomed as a MF’er after suffering a knee injury in ’92. It brought out the baddest in him – despite serious pain, he played eight more season at about 15 points and 9 boards a night. Terry became such a motherf*cker, he wouldn’t even pass the motherf*cker gene down to his son, T.J. Cummings. T.J., a 6-10 PF played at UCLA for four years, who was baby-wipe soft.
15. Larry Bird
Unfazed by smothering defense, Bird had an aura that every motherf*cker aspires to have: it doesn’t matter what you throw at me, I’m still going to get mine. If you want to teach your kids how to be a motherf*cker, sit them in front of a TV and pop in the “Larry Legend” DVD. It’s the best thing that you could do for their future.
14. Dave Cowens
You have to take your hat off to Cowens, a 6-8 C who was a rabid rebounder. Motherf*cker was so vicious on the glass, he had five seasons in which he posted at least 15 boards a game. As a testament to just how crazy this motherf*cker was, he slept on a park bench in Boston Common after wandering through the city partying after winning the ’74 ‘chip. He played so g*ddamn hard, he took a break during the 1977 season to “clear his head,” and drove a cab during his time off.
13. Bruce Bowen
The Darwinist of motherf*ckers. Bowen was on the fringe of being out of the NBA until he turned himself into a motherf*cker, deciding to make his niche as a lock-down defender and general pest. Since then, he’s made a career of getting under the skin of superstars like Kobe, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and LeBron. From his slide-under anklebreaker move to straight-up kneeing guys in the balls (and getting away with it), Bowen has all the dirty tricks in the book, and his opponents know it.
12. Moses Malone
A couple years ago, we got to chat up Moses at a Nike event in NYC and asked him why guys in his day had to grab 14-15 rebounds per game in order to lead the League, whereas current players can do so while pulling down 11-12 boards. Moses’ answer was basically, “Everyone today is a pussy and they don’t want to rebound.” OK.
11. Kobe Bryant
In many ways, Kobe defines motherf*cker-hood for our generation. Kobe relishes knocking down jumpers in someone else’s grill more than anyone to ever play the game – Michael included. MJ didn’t take as many ill-advised shots as Bryant, and thus he didn’t have as many opportunities to mean mug at his man after the ball swished through. At the NBA Store a couple of weeks ago, we spoke with Coach Mike Krzyzewski about what makes Kobe so special, and he told this story: “During one of our meetings before we really got into the flow in Beijing,” said Coach K, “he stopped me and said, ‘Coach.’ Then he gave one of those long Kobe stares, and said, ‘I want to guard the best player on the perimeter of every team we play.’ He stopped. And then said, ‘And I will destroy them.’”
10. Reggie Miller
He brought out his best motherf*cker moments on the biggest stages. You know about all the big shots in clutch situations, but remember that Reggie was a skinny dude who relished in bucking up on Jordan, Kobe or whoever else was supposed to be better than him.
9. Ron Artest
Ron’s not on this list because of one infamous incident. He’s here because of his year-round commitment to being a motherf*cker on the court. When he’s done being the best on-ball defensive forward in the League (I don’t care who the NBA chose for their All-Defensive First Team), he goes back to Queensbridge and runs literally three times a day until training camp picks back up. Last year he got his tooth knocked out in the middle of a meaningless summer league game in Harlem, put the tooth in his sock, and kept playing. Motherf*cker finished with 35 that night.
8. Anthony Mason/Charles Oakley
How is it that the ’90′s Knicks were widely considered some of the toughest motherf*ckers in the League despite being led by a center who everyone gets on for being Charmin-soft? It’s because of these two guys, who were far more than enforcers on the court. And once Oak was out of the League, he was one of the guys who got everyone still playing to sack up about the dress code, calling out Allen Iverson to “Grow up already.” People could talk bad about David Stern behind his back, but no one would say anything about Oakley.
7. The Bad Boys
Everyone wants to say that Bill Laimbeer was the baddest dude on this team, but if there was one guy that we’d have to crown as the motherf*cker from the ’80′s Pistons, it’d be Joe Dumars. Laimbeer was a part-time thug and a part-time flopper. He was the Vlade Divac of the ’80′s. While Laimbeer was jumping up and down after taking a charge like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum, Joe D was nose-to-chest with the Magic‘s, Michael‘s, and Clyde Drexler‘s of the League. Motherf*cker made the All-Defensive team five times, as he had some of the fastest hands we’ve ever seen.
6. Gary Payton
Still a motherf*cker when he’s wearing a suit and sitting behind the NBA TV studio desk. Because of today’s offense-friendly rules and the fact that he was just a gritty motherf*cker, Payton was the last guard who was able to dominate a game defensively. Always talking, always swarming, just always … there. What other point guard would have even been given a chance to stop MJ one-on-one in an NBA Finals series?
5. Oscar Robertson
Undeniably one of the greatest players ever in any sport, Oscar never gets his proper due in this YouTube/highlight era because his game wasn’t nearly as aesthetically pleasing as somebody like Kobe or even Elgin Baylor from his era. The reason: Oscar was a motherf*ckin’ bully who just backed guys down or took a couple dribble to get where he wanted, and then did what he wanted when he got there. You know that sneer Kobe gets on his face when he’s pissed and wants to destroy a team by himself? Oscar invented it.
4. John Stockton/Karl Malone
The No. 1 motherf*cker coach of all time, Bob Knight, once said that the greatest compliment he give a player was that he knew what he’d get from him every single day. No truer statement could have been made about Stockton or Malone.
3. Dennis Rodman
There’s never been another athlete who is widely recognized as bat-sh*t crazy, yet as in control of everything happening on the court at the same time. Watch the mind-games that he played with Karl Malone, Frank Brickowski, Alonzo – it’s astounding. No motherf*cker has ever gone as hard after rebounds as the Worm. Ever.
2. Bill Russell
The original motherf*cker. He battled through racism – from the University of San Francisco to his 11 championships in Boston – he saw unspeakable things on such a maniacal level that he’s been called basketball’s Jackie Robinson. He was a self-made man through and through, growing from a player with “atrocious fundamentals” into one of the greatest champions in the history of sports. How’s this for a great motherf*cker stat? Russell averaged 22.5 boards per game for his career.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael wasn’t the most talented guy to ever pick up a basketball, but he became the greatest motherf*cker of all time because of unparalleled mental toughness. People made careers out of trying to be “Jordan Stoppers,” but no one was ever able to actually live up to that title. After getting that crown, Gerald Wilkins got a 31 ppg helping from His Airness in the ’93 Eastern Conference Semi’s. What other motherf*cker abused guys specifically set out to stop him like Mike? Even as he was approaching 40 in the Wizards phase of his career, he refused to show weakness and was still feared.