Best Sports Smack-Talkers Right Now

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2014

Best Sports Smack-Talkers Right Now

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    While some athletes rely on their game alone to get them through, other guys have no fear when it comes to running their mouth and hoping that they go out and back it up.

    Trash talk is a part of sports, and for better or worse, there are a few players out there who are masters of the fine art.

    Which ones are the best right now? Keep reading and get a few tips on how to properly punk someone out.

Lance Stephenson

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    Newly signed Charlotte Hornets guard Lance Stephenson has one thing going for him when it comes to his trash-talk tactic—he just doesn't give a darn.

    Whether that means he'll blow into an opponent's ear, talk to the media or dare another player to shoot and shoot and shoot while he continues to yap, Stephenson goes to great lengths to make sure the guy he's guarding never gets comfortable—which is a key element in being a star trash-talker.

A.J. Pierzynski

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    Often considered by many to be the most hated player in baseball—which is quite the honor—St. Louis Cardinals catcher A.J. Pierzynski hasn't earned that reputation by being a choir boy behind the plate.

    In fact, he's done the exact opposite, dusting up anyone who dares step into the batter's box while he's behind the dish.

    When you carry the reputation that Pierzynski does, there are few guys to make nice with.

DeMarcus Cousins

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    One of the most talented big guys in the NBA, Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins seems to be a bit of a wild man.

    On top of instigating a war of words with Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy last season, Boogie also tried to get under the skin of legendary San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan and broadcaster Sean Elliott the year before. That turned out bad for Cousins—and he actually apologized for the incident.

    The young fella will learn.

Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant is built in the same mold that Michael Jordan was while he was on the court, using the mindset of "give me the ball, and get the hell out of my way."

    There's a reason he's nicknamed the Black Mamba, and it's because the guy is ruthless, putting down players on both opposing teams and his own team, and he has a certain arrogance about him that he uses as a chip on his shoulder.

DeSean Jackson

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    You've got to love the confidence that newly acquired Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson has.

    Known to showboat throughout his six-year career, D-Jax also hasn't shied away from talking about his abilities to both opposing players and the media. He recently said that he thought people didn't realize he could "do it all," per Liz Clarke of The Washington Post. Jackson is prone to talking trash whenever he sees fit—and often can back it up.

Rajon Rondo

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    While Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo may have been the young gun on the Boston Celtics teams that were led by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, he learned more than just basketball from his older mates—including the art of trash-talking.

    Rondo is talented as all hell, with the ability to go off for a triple-double on any given night, yet he's also prone to have run-ins with anyone who rubs him the wrong way.

    The lean point guard may appear small, but he's got the confidence of a lion, not backing down from a challenge.

Chris Paul

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    Like the aforementioned Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul may be slight in stature, but he's as competitive as they come—and he lets his words help fuel his energy at times.

    Typically mentioned as the best point guard in the Association, Paul might appear to be nice off the court thanks to his creative State Farm commercials, but when he steps on the court, he agitates other players by flopping around and generally being a pest.

Terrell Suggs

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    An absolute beast out on the gridiron, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs can often be seen chatting it up with his opposition anytime he's wearing pads.

    Here's a hint—they're not talking about getting together for dinner.

    Even when he's not causing a scene with his words, Suggs finds alternative ways to make a statement—like he did before a 2011 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers when he had shirts printed up before a game in the Steel City.

Joakim Noah

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    One of the most dynamic players in the entire league, Chicago Bulls All-Star Joakim Noah is also talented as hell in getting into another guy's head.

    Playing with passion and energy that rubs off on his teammates, Noah never backs down from a challenge, using a combination of physicality and words to take a player off of his game.

    Whether it's on the court or during an interview, Noah is an expert distractor.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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    Arguably the most boisterous athlete on the planet, undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. does everything he wants to in order to stay on top.

    Sometimes that means posting pics with other celebs, and other times it's Money trying to get the best of an opponent before a fight through the media.

    Mayweather isn't quite Muhammad Ali, but he's pretty darn close when it comes to getting another person amped up—only for his opponent to lose when the final bell is rung.

Richard Sherman

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    We've all seen and broken down this video hundreds of times, so it's probably no shock that Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman is so high on this list.

    Point blank—the dude likes to run his mouth, anytime, anywhere, and he isn't apologetic about it.

    He has gotten heated with fellow cornerbacks in his division about their contracts and, more famously, talked crap about San Francisco 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree on national TV. So, yeah, Sherman seems to never stop putting other guys down in the heat of competition.

Kevin Garnett

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    He might be the eldest statesman on this list of trash-talkers, but 38-year-old future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett knows how to get under the skin of his opponents.

    For years, KG has offered his opinions on everything from feeling disrespected by other players (then almost making them cry), wives of opponents (which almost led to a postgame fight) and everything in-between.

    Even at his age, Garnett is still the king of trash talk.