Columnists :: The Boston Sports Beat
The trash-talker’s guide to the NBA Finals by Brandon Simes
Managing EditorTuesday Jun 1, 2010 Trash talking is my forte. I’m an avid trash-talker. When I wake up in the morning I scout the latest happenings in the world of sports, and take a particularly close look at the failings of rival cities such as Philly, New York, and LA. Probably in that order too, because Philly has good teams and I’m friends with lots of legit sports fans from the area, New Yorkers generally understand how sports ought to be played but don’t have anyone to consistently root for other than the Yankees, and LA is just pathetic.
With that in mind, I thought I’d offer up a guide to trash talking in advance of the NBA Finals, since some bum at the LA Times thinks Paul Pierce being brutally stabbed is funny. I mean, obviously it’s hilarious, what’s funnier than gang violence, right? Yeah ... anyway, here’s a little breakdown for those who need help with their trash talking (pay attention, left coast):
1. Do know what you’re talking about. Facts are great. Stats are wonderful. Use them all liberally to embellish your emphatic, hyperbolic statements about the inferiority of your opponent.
2. Do be prepared to counter an argument that has some validity. If an opponent brings up a good point, perhaps pointing to Kendrick Perkins’ questionable performance thus far in the playoffs (his scoring, shooting percentage, and rebounding are all down significantly), respond by belittling the opponents that the other team’s counterpoint has played (pffft, yeah, Kyrylo Fesenko is a really tough match-up, I’m sure Perk would have struggled against him as opposed to, I don’t know, Shaq and Dwight Howard!), support your own player’s efforts (no big deal being the best defensive center not named Howard in the NBA, no big deal), and then finish off by predicting domination in the ensuing match-up (Andrew Bynum is so soft Jordan’s Furniture has a commercial planned for the summer with Perk sleeping on him).
3. Do focus on winning. Always bring the argument back to your team winning either the most often, the most recent championship, or the most of all time. In this case, while a Lakers fan can point to having reached the Finals the most in history, the Celtics fan will casually mention Bill Russell being better than Wilt Chamberlain and having won 17 of 20 previous trips to the Finals, many against the Lakers themselves. The Lakers fan may respond with a comment about doing well last year or something, but a Celtics fan will simply say, "Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t usually pay much attention to who wins after the best team’s best player is out, dramatically altering the playoffs." You might also want to add that the Celtics’ starting five has never lost a playoff series together. No big deal.
1. Don’t go after someone who doesn’t deserve it. That means don’t make fun of Scal. His life is tough enough with hometown fans mocking him all the time without even knowing it. The same goes for Adam Morrison, who sparkled in two spurts of garbage time against the Thunder in the first round and hasn’t left the pine since. You might offhandedly talk about how Pau Gasol is/looks like a llama. You might remark that Jordan Farmar’s ears are exceptionally large. Perhaps you note that Ron Artest is legitimately crazy and not good at basketball, as evidenced by his stellar 12.12 PER this season. But save the vitriol for people who truly deserve it. That means rapists. I don’t think I have to explain this anymore. No one wants to root for the LT of basketball.
2. Don’t bring up topics you’re not completely ahead in. Phil Jackson’s a good coach. Don’t worry about how he was outmaneuvered by Doc Rivers (Doc Rivers!) the last time these two teams met in the Finals. The guy’s won 10 championships. He’s also coached the best team in the league about a dozen times. That’s not bad, I guess. Just leave it be.
3. Don’t forget to talk about the future. Kobe’s odometer is at about 666,666,666 miles. The rapacious shooting guard’s over-the-line desire for everything that he wants with no regard for others’ feelings and the llama’s versatility and willingness to play second fiddle despite top talent are all that’s keeping the team afloat. What happens when Kobe’s not better than Gasol in a year or two? Could be more drama than middle school. Lamar Kardashian is on his downswing. Artest is already bad, and will be getting worse for four more years. The bench has almost no one on it (other than Bynum, who’s always sitting on it). Derek Fisher is a crook the way he’s stealing LA’s money. The Buss family is stupid. The coach is floating rumors about other teams wanting him during the playoffs. OK City is poised to take over the Western Conference behind Kevin Durant et al for years starting as early as next season and the East is in flux with free agents all over, creating instability everywhere outside the Hub, possibly extending Boston’s title window behind Rajon Rondo, the Still Pretty Good Three, superior bench depth, and Kendrick Perkins’ singular ability to own Dwight Howard for games at a time.
I hope this was some help. Good luck!