NBA / Sep 8, 2009 / 10:25 am

The NBA’s Sneaky-Dirty Top 10

Artest vs. Kobe

Artest vs. Kobe

With Bruce Bowen retiring last week and John Stockton headed for the Hall of Fame this week, the concept of the “dirty” basketball player has been in discussion around the Dime office.

Even the casual NBA fans knows about notorious thugs like Bowen, Bill Laimbeer and Ron Artest, who wind up on “SportsCenter” with every elbow, slide-under ankle-breaker, hip check and hard foul they deliver. But you really have to watch the games to point out the guys who are sneaky-dirty; the ones less like Bowen and more like Stockton, whose slight-of-hand acts don’t get as much attention as the guys with reputations that precede them. Here are 10 of the sneakiest/dirtiest, a.k.a. The Wood Harris All-Stars:

1. Kobe Bryant — For one of the most physically in-control athletes in the world, a gym rat who is aware of what his body is doing every second of every game, Kobe sure has a lot of “accidents” on the court: Mike Miller caught one of those accidental elbows in the throat, Manu Ginobili was one victim of a wayward back-handed chop, and Shane Battier took a surely “incidental” knee to the cheek recently. And as good as he is at getting away with stuff, Kobe is equally adept at playing it off in case he does get caught. When he ran an Adam’s Apple check on Ron Artest in this year’s playoffs, Kobe’s reaction looked like Kevin Hart “This is dumb, man. Gimme a hug” bit.

2. Chris Paul — The Michael Irvin of the NBA is the master of the unnoticeable push-off. His flopping game is also on-point, and don’t forget the Julius Hodge incident.

3. Reggie EvansIf I were ranking guys in order according to dirty-ness, Evans would be #1 and #2 at the same time. Unless you’re fighting for your life, there’s just no excuse for grabbing a guy’s nuts. And unless you’re in a prison yard, there’s really no excuse for slapping a dude on the ass with all your might.

4. Steve Nash — As high-profile as his “gets” have been: the Robert Horry hip check, the Bowen knee-to-crotch, or the Tony Parker head collison that split his nose open, Nash’s “gives” have usually slipped under the radar. Most notable was when he kicked Yao Ming, the most gentle guy in the League. That’s like giving Teddy Ruxpin an uppercut.

5. Derek Fisher — He fits the sneaky-dirty profile almost perfectly: Small-college guy who isn’t the most athletic or talented player around, yet he’s managed to not only stick in the League, but play a vital part on several winning teams. He’s got to be bending the rules in his favor somehow, right? Fisher’s most recent dirty play was knocking Luis Scola’s hair off his head with a shoulder block in this year’s playoffs — the rest of his repertoire includes slight jersey tugs, a little stepping on the feet, and somehow tackling an opponent so discreetly, he’ll get the guy called for a foul. Check this Smack note from a Warriors/Lakers game in 2008:

… down by two with four seconds left, [the Warriors] were inbounding on their side of the court. Everyone was bunched up at the beginning of the play, and it turned into a scrum. Kobe and Baron Davis were basically hugging each other, and then Derek Fisher fell backwards while pulling Monta Ellis down on top of him, baiting the ref into calling an offensive foul on Monta (as Fish pretended to be hurt). That of course sent the Warriors announcers through the roof, and understandably. “That’s just awful. That’s not even basketball!” one of them said as the Lakers iced it with free throws.”

6. Mickael Pietrus — His stealth is even more impressive than his dirty play. In an Eastern Conference Finals series where LeBron James was getting sent to the line if you brushed up against him, Pietrus somehow managed to elbow LBJ square in the groin while ‘Bron was in mid-air and didn’t get called for it. You’d think the refs would be all over that.

7. Tyson Chandler — Off the court, Chandler is actually one of the nicer guys I’ve met in the NBA, a religious family man almost in the David Robinson mold. On the court, he’s got that whole Jekyll/Hyde thing going. Blame it on his high school days playing in Compton, or on coming into the League as a skinny teenager and needing to find a way to establish his place, but Chandler has some dirty tricks in his toolbox. The worst was from a Hornets/Blazers game last January. All night Chandler had been battling with Joel Przybilla, who was playing with a broken wrist that was clearly wrapped up due to injury. Jockeying for position on the block one time, Chandler looked at Ghostface’s wrist, then came down with a karate chop on it, setting off a fight in which Chandler was ejected. It was so foul that Przybilla’s grandma got involved.

8. Ray Allen — Another of the NBA’s nice guys who definitely has a dark side. Glaring at somebody or talking smack after hitting a big shot is one thing (everybody does that on the playground), but Ray’s history goes deeper than that. His scraps with Bowen and Kobe are well-known, and he’s also been known to swing an elbow towards the baby-making region. Ray got into a scrap with Keyon Dooling in Seattle a few years back that was just as bad as Nate Robinson/J.R. Smith brawling in MSG, it just didn’t get as much hype because it wasn’t in New York.

9. Rajon Rondo — After Rondo slapped Brad Miller in the face and threw Kirk Hinrich into the scorer’s table with zero repercussions, Aaron Gray must have been praying he didn’t get any PT during that Bulls/Celtics series, otherwise he’d end up on the hit list.

10. Louis Amundson — He’s got to be doing something dirty or he’s just damned annoying, because for whatever reason, guys want to kick Lou’s ass and don’t even care about the consequences. Last season, Zach Randolph punched Amundson in the face in the middle of the court for allegedly trying to kiss him “in my mouth,” then Nene took a break from basketball to treat Amundson’s face like a heavy bag, later calling him a “stupid dude.” Despite what you told that girl in high school, you can be dirty with just your mouth, too.

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  • http://vittoriodezen.wordpress.com Vittorio De Zen

    Heh, nice list. There’s nothing “sneaky” about Evans and Rondo to my eyes, though.

  • flegman

    I’m surprised that anybody other than Master Bruce made that list.

  • Rafa23

    steve nash and ray allen are laughable. just because there 1 or 2 incidents doesn’t mean a guy is dirty.
    and kobe at #1? sure he is dirty sometimes and should be on this list, but worse than evans? no way.
    i also dont get why pietrus is on there. just because there was one thing u guys saw in the playoffs against mr perfect? come on now

  • Zibala

    As a Celtics fan I love that Rondo entry

  • jams

    Wow, Is this obvious Tuesday?
    Ehmm…Every good defensive player is dirty. Rondo is mostly just stupid trying to hurt people, encouraged by Kevin Garnett. Every good offensive player is dirty, see Shaq, how do you think these guys create space with a Bowen or a Brad Miller hanging all over their nuts? If you are not out there scratching and clawing, you a’int trying, Period!

  • control

    I don’t know if you can throw Mickael Pietrus on the list just for giving some rough play to LeBron’s nuts…there are a lot more people who have been all over LeBron’s nuts a lot harder than that since he was in highschool…

    Rondo should be higher on that list, he’s a whiney diva bitch who doesn’t even hide how dirty he is.

    KG should also be on the list, has there been a time he’s covered someone smaller than him that he hasn’t got dirty?

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    kobe is really good at doing little things with his arms (hooking defenders arms, etc) that is contact initiated by him that results in a foul being called on his defender. Stockton used to do this all the time on screen/rolls. Kobe does it when establishing position inside, or going around screens.

  • Flip

    KG, Joel Przybilla and Manu should have made the list, with Bruce Bowen ranked higher.

    Great read, though!

  • control

    If flopping is ‘dirty’ I would put Manu on the list, or make the entire list Manu and Valgina. Fuck those two pussy ass flopping pieces of shit.

  • alex

    rajon rondo should be in number 1 for wat he did in almost every game he played

  • Ninja

    Ray Allen is most definitely one of the dirtiest players in the league. Earlier this year he did his best Hulk Hogan nWo years impression by low blowing Anderson Varejao. Not even Kobe could have made a shot like that seem “incidental.”

  • control


    Ray Allen shouldn’t be called dirty for elbowing Varejao in his manpussy. He’s a hero. It didn’t even phase Valgina, proving that he ain’t got no balls at all.

  • LakeShow84

    @ AB

    Come on now dude.. That article is a wee bit off.. i can name other STRAIGHT dirty players in the NBA.. Najera, Dahntay Jones, POSEY..

    Kobe isnt dirty he just gives back lol.. I dont think there was anything sneaky about the Mike Miller thing either.. i think Kobe even held the pose after he connected with it lmao..

    And Pietrus isnt really a dirty player at all.. I always watched him on GS and he wasnt never dirty.. Stupid yes but dirty no.. And with all the PHANTOM CALLS Lebron was getting that series hes lucky Pietrus didnt pull out a spoon and castrate him in the mid air.. It was THAT bad..

  • dk

    wow, now i remember why we dont come to this site. Kobe at number one…. Theres not much to say there except that of course there are incidents invilving him because everyone tries to bully him on D.

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks King Cooper

    Awwww, poor Kobe nut-suckers got their feelings hurt. Two things to READ: 1, AB said he didn’t rank in order of dirty-ness, otherwise Evans would’ve been on top. 2, it’s a list of guys who don’t really have a rep for being dirty but show dirty tendencies. Hence, no Bowen or KG.

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN aka BINO BROWN STR8 UP N DOWN

    definitely DAHNTAY and DWIGHT on that list.

  • Ross

    Great list. And I thought nobody noticed Paul but me.

  • Mo

    The offseason is terrible.

  • Mo

    Anyone get their new Slam mag yet?

  • K Dizzle

    Shoot, I’d uppercut Teddy Ruxpin. I even get urges to punt chiquaquas. Don’t make me dirty…

  • Alee-Mo

    @Mo — My 12-year-old brother LOVES Slam. You guys should get together and play tag sometime.

  • Alee-Mo

    Anyway, that move by Chandler is messed up. Intentionally going after an injured body part is the definition of dirty.

  • rean pogi

    haha! reggie evans’ dirty alright. i can still remember that playoff game right? man… that was mean slap if i ever saw one.

  • Derik

    Louis Amundson is awesome

  • the cynic

    Dhantay “The Tripper” Jones and Andrew “Karate chop” Bynum get votes from me

  • Promoman

    You forgot to mention Chris’ holding and grabbing. When Bruce Bowen kicked him and when he got roughed up in the playoffs, that was karma coming due. He’s a great player but he does pull a lot of bitch moves. Rajon’s getting to be the same way. You can’t be surprised about Fisher. You always see guys who either can’t play or just barely have the ability to play doing horseshit to get by. Amundson shouldn’t be on the list. I saw the game where Zach punched him and Zach punched him because Louis stood up for himself after Zach started wrestling the guy. Same deal with Nene. I think Louis must’ve gotten labelled by guys in the league as a pushover or something. Anybody else find it funny that Bruce Bowen’s favorite targets (Kobe, Nash, Ray, CP3,) made a top 10 dirty list?

  • Ian

    proman those dudes got to be dirty also like someone mentioned to get bowen of their nuts.

    now kobe and paul arent sneaky people know what they do
    evans and rondo are just dumb.

    allen i dont know poor dude had to play kobe and bowen alot so he had to give some back.

    love the manu hate this article has nothing to do with floppin but yet u bring it up just to throw him in. the man can ball EVERYONE knows that if floppin gets me wins if take them.

    amundson is like the girl that plays for the lakers (the machine) everyone wants to punch them for no reason.

  • http://bt.davka.info/ SparkyJay23

    control says:

    I don’t know if you can throw Mickael Pietrus on the list just for giving some rough play to LeBron’s nuts…there are a lot more people who have been all over LeBron’s nuts a lot harder than that since he was in highschool…

    Stone fucking cold dude

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Matt Barnes, Reggie Evans and Ryan Hollins!

    Yao Ming cause he does his fans dirty during the playoffs!


    everybody forgets the time when kobe hit dirk in the face while on his way down from a jumpshot in which he thought he was fouled. dirk had a nasty bruise right under his eye and was pissed off. it was the game when kobe scored 64 points in 3 quarters in L.A vs Dallas. Youtube it cuz its gotta be on there. It was the exact same thing he did to ginobli. Kobe’s still my boy tho

  • sh!tfaced

    so the celtics and lakers have one of the league’s dirtiest backcourts…

  • Shotta

    Teddy Ruxpin has a suspect chin…

  • arisloco

    Rajon Rondo and KG sucks! I’ve never seen KG plays dirty and talks shit on players bigger than him. I was thinking how many pieces will Shaq break his bones.ahahaha

  • Atom

    Pietrus is generally pretty clean, one incident does not a dirty player make.

    Carmello is always doing players dirty. His main offensive move involves hooking his defender. He will also always hold a defender and push off to make space when there is someone blocking the refs view. Thats some dirty/sneaky Stockton ish.