The movie Friday, the 1995 stoner flick featuring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, has become a cult classic over the years. I wanted to begin with a nice quote from the movie, but they all read like a Matt Barnes tweet. Anyway, the film surrounds a 16-hour period in which two unemployed bums (Craig and Smokey, played by Cube and Tucker respectively) must pay a local drug dealer $200 or risk facing his wrath.
One of the movies best characters is the local bully, Deebo, whose interests include giving people black eyes, and stealing their things. Played by former wrestler Tommy Lister, Jr., Deebo stood around 6-5 and weighed 300 pounds.
I haven’t seen the movie in quite some time, so I called up my friend Jon for his take on Deebo. His response: “He’s a big dude and no one f**** with him, and he beats his girlfriend.” So, which NBA players would stand the best chance against such an intimidating fellow? I think qualities like rebounding and defense presence show considerable toughness. Which 20 guys could go all Craig on Deebo and take him out?
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20. JASON MAXIELL
He may not have flashy stats (6.0 PPG, 4.4 RBG, 0.8 BPG) but Maxiell’s girth earns him a spot on this list. Maxiell is best known for hoarding rebounds, and opposing player’s shots. A formidable role player for the Detroit Pistons his first eight seasons, Maxiell signed on to be the elder statesmen of the young Orlando Magic this past offseason. At 6-7 and 260 pounds, Maxiell is the definition of a large man.
“We looked at Max and said here was a guy who is in the Ben Wallace mode – high energy, tough, undersized… we loved his toughness,” Pistons vice president John Hammond once said about the former Cincy Bearcat (Hammond is now the GM of the Milwaukee Bucks). Even with the funky specs he wears now, Deebo would be wise to stay away if Jason came around town.
19. SERGE IBAKA
The Thunder big man came into the league as a young, raw prospect from the Congo full of endless potential. Now in his fifth season, Ibaka, who has led the NBA in blocks the past three seasons, has rounded out his entire game. Two seasons ago he began shooting jumpers more frequently, and this year he has shown more dedication to boards, averaging a career-high in rebounds per game (10.5 RBG).
Standing 6-10 and 220 pounds, Ibaka is an imposing figure who isn’t afraid to mix it up with an opposing player (see Wednesday night’s matchup with Matt Barnes of the Clippers, with full fist extension for an example). The Thunder big could easily clench his fist and Deebo would be flat on his back in no time.
18. LeBRON JAMES
What, you’re surprised that a 6-8, 250-pound brick wall made the list? Take away anti-LeBron bias mumbo-jumbo, and picture the image of a full speed LeBron flying down the lane towards you. Any honest man (Deebo included) is doing their very best to get out of the way. His stats might be down a little this year, by his standards at least — 25.5PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.5 RBG, and only 0.6 SPG — but the reigning MVP can still turn on the jets when he sees fit; see his 33 points in three quarters versus the Bucks last week for further proof.
LeBron hits the glass hard, and is a menace on defense — remember when he shut down a pre-injury Derrick Rose in the playoffs? While James never seems involved in any conflict, I’m betting he can stand his own if needed be. With the King accepting his role as villain, there’s no way Deebo can take a fully grown James!
17. KENNETH FARIED
He might be slightly undersized for the power forward position (standing 6-8 and 228 pounds), but they don’t call him the Manimal for nothin’! In the midst of his third season, Faried boasts career averages of 11.0 PPG and 8.6 RBG while never playing 30 minutes per game. Kenneth has a relentless motor, and attacks the boards as well as anyone in the league. Think about this: his per-36 minute numbers average to 11.9 RBG. Get him some more time, Denver! To boot, his chiseled physique and gangly dreads match his rugged style of play. If Deebo got Faried worked up, his nonstop motor gives him the edge over the neighborhood bully.