The word thug is thrown around a lot, but what does the word really mean? Well the verb, to thug, means to nastily establish unrelenting style, skill, and or domination that squashes competition. When you put it that way, this applies very well to some NBA stars.
Some people think basketball is a sport just for thugs, but those people usually have never hit a three pointer. There is an art to the game, an athletic hand-eye harmonic concordance to the jump shot. Just like Plato’s Academy had written over it’s entry door, “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here,” so is unwritten over every single basketball court built, “Let no one ignorant of a jump shot enter here.” It might be true that opening public basketball courts increases crime in neighborhoods. And the NBA has had its number of thugged out incidents, like the Pacers incident… But the modern day definition of thug also includes the rough men in Churchill’s quote, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us,” as well as connotations of some baller saucing on you with unpredictable zesty flavor and flour, covering you with breadcrumbs, and panfrying you for brunch with freshly squeezed juice on the side when all that baller thought he or she was going to have was damn giblets.
For example, when the Houston Rockets came back from a 3-1 down in a series against the Los Angeles Clippers last year…that was pretty thug. And while we’re on the topic of the H-Town Rockets—when they scored forty-five points in the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors in last year’s playoffs: also thug. Ben Wallace is a thug, but not in a bad way—in a grounded and immovable way—what you want in a center. Rasheed Wallace was a thug in a very bad way. Thugs in the NBA come in all shapes and sizes and fabrics and styles. And, indeed, there is a pyramid ranking the thuggest. . .
15 Kevin Garnett
This is one active NBA veteran who will flare up faster than Achilles. Hailing from Greenville, South Carolina, Garnett blew up in Minnesota with the Timberwolves and was then traded to the Boston Celtics, where he, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen took the 2008 championship title. Remember the Big Three? Garnett is now back with in Minnesota, at the power forward position. Garnett has mastered the mean mug. His eyes can pierce through souls made of molten iron. He was one of three students arrested for second-degree lynching. The case was later expunged on a pre-trial intervention.
14 Chris Andersen
The Birdman. He is a walking piece of art. This veteran baller has tattoos could tell a fifteen book trilogy that would have to get made into thirty movies just to hold the content. When asked how much longer he has in the league, Andersen responded that he’s going to play for twenty more seasons. He hails from the LBC, Long Beach, California—home of Snoop Dogg currently known as Snoop Lion.
13 Dennis Rodman
Five Rings. That is one heavy hand. His championships with the Bulls in the 90s were some of the greatest games played. He and MJ were a force of nature that plundered pounds of jewelry from the NBA, as well as other treasures.
Rodman’s eccentricity is unparalleled. Except by one person perhaps…Jody Highroller. Rodman’s multi-colored hairdos and tattoos and wild fashion sense are uncontrollable by anyone except him…even his fashion stylist can’t control him. Rodman thugs out on eccentricity. Plans are being orchestrated to have him cryogenically frozen and put on display in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas when he dies. He might be the most eccentric person in the world. Besides displaying super human athleticism on the court, Rodman is a gangster of eccentricity.
12 Monta Ellis
Ellis creeps into the kitchen and murders the chef, shaking and baking…spilling hot sauce or was it blood? all over the lane…taking it straight through the kitchen…and disappearing from the crime scene. He actually seems like a pretty good kid. On the court, he appears to be so soft spoken, so quiet that a defender would not even hear him blow by as Ellis drives in for a finger roll or pulls up for a knock down jumper that doesn’t even make a sound: swishing silently. Ellis is also a thief on the defensive end, stripping tons of dribbles—and his speed and agility give him a great advantage on fast breaks.
11 Kevin Durant
Does anyone remember when the Durantula played for the University of Texas at Austin? He lit up that burnt orange. It’s burnt because of his hot handles on the court. In 2010 Durant was the FIBA Wold Championship MVP. Kevin Durant is the type of good-natured but hard-nosed thug in a graceful, pterodactyl kind of way whom you want representing your country in the Olympics. Remember that block that saved the U.S.?—Durant is one of Churchill’s rough men when he said “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”
10 Dwight Howard
Moving to Houston changed Howard. I have to say it, Howard’s more thug now that he’s in H-Town. Nowadays Howard is less smiley, more serious and down to business, too. He has been hitting the gym for in-depth skills training sessions with Hakeem Olajuan whom has two championship rings from the Rockets’ back to back ships in ’94 and ’95. And Hakeem’s dream shake is paying off on the rebound consumer of worlds that is Dwight Howard.
All he needs to do is master the free throw shot and the hack-a-Howard will cease to exist, and that way the Rockets will flow through the 2016 playoffs without that chopped up intentional fouling that screwed up and slowed down last year's playoff series. There is one thing for sure about Howard: He wants that first ring. And I think Howard, Harden, and Beverly, oh and Ty Lawson and Trevor Ariza might get a ring in 2016.
9 Kirk Hinrich
Hinrich is one shooting and point guard for the Chicago Bulls that might just have the balls to punch someone in the mouth on live television. His fury is raw, and his jump shot is a class action law suit. Hinrich’s three point game is like snowfall in the winter in Chicago. He makes it rain and he’s so cold that the rain blizzards, which freezes the city solid.
8 Kobe Bryant
I chose number eight for multiple reasons. Back when Kobe rocked no.8—back when he rocked the afro—this legend had, and still does have—a straight criminal crossover. And his pull up jumper should be outlawed from the league. But remember back when Kobe and Jordan played against each other? Those were two were the realest on the court. Kobe is triple OG. I’m highly surprised Kobe doesn’t have his own weed strain named after him in L.A.
If California gave Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and Dr. Dre their own genetic strain of weed, they need to give Kobe his own, too. I suggest a hybrid between a type that begins with slow-motion wave-like movement that reverses with a hyper speed off-the-wall dunk on everything around you. But I’m not a botanist.
7 James Harden
When Harden hits the court, he just thugs out. Last year he had the second most points per game. Off the court, he still thugs out. Spitting game with Khloe Kardashian, giving interviews from his tinted limo while throwed in the middle of the night and so on. I still think Harden’s the coldest player in the NBA. This 6-foot-6 shooting guard is too shifty to defend, he has the size and the height to escalate on big men, and his three point game is poignant and downright punctual. And his facial hair is an icon. In the playoffs last year against the Golden State Warriors, Harden lead the Rockets to 45 points in the first quarter.
6 Patrick Beverly
This point guard could probably fight anyone in the league. Beverly’s defensive game is all Gary “The Glove” Payton. His attitude is pit bull like with a pull up jumper. He is a radioactive player that could have helped the Rockets defeat the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs last year had he been healthy. If he's healthy down the stretch this coming year, spring may go a lot different for Houston.
5 J.R. Smith
Smith is straight thuggin’ through the air as he escalates above the lane and descends to the hoop. Smith does not drive through the lane. He takes his hovercraft powered by his high tech rocket-boosting calves that jet him any where he wants to go. Some people muscle through the lane for a lay up, but Smith can just take the elevator—or he can take the escalator, depending on his mood for long jump or high jump.
This former Denver Nugget treats the basketball court like a track and field meet. J.R. Smith is a classic, modern day baller. Never minding an occasional untucked jersey, Smith balls hard with a splashy three pointer and a crafty handle that contains lots of spin moves. His agility and vertical leap garner him Top Shelf True OG Flight Master Kush, which is coming soon to Denver recreational dispensaries.
4 Michael Beasley
Michael Beastly has turned up beast mode on unfortunate souls for over a decade. From high school basketball brawls to smoking trees off the court, this athletic specimen has one thugged out game. This forward at 6-foot-10 is a sharp shooter. He has precision on the outside game, and he can drive and create open looks down low. And he doesn’t take crap from anyone. There’s a popular video of a high school fan heckling him during warm up routines. Beasley walks over to the crowded sideline, shouts in a chatty spectator’s face, and knocks him out and takes the court.
3 Allen Iverson
Just listen to “White Iverson” by Post Malone. It’s all over the radio right now. And according to Matt Barnes, Iverson and Barnes used to hit the club and Iverson would drop about $40,000 in cash at strip clubs. Barnes said that he would pick up and pocket some of the cash, as he was very new to the league when they went out and partied. Yeah, the Philadelphia 76ers star goes hard in the club. Iverson used to cross Michael Jordan back in the day, too. This is one veteran star who I truly believe can make a comeback. If Jason Terry can still drop three point shots and run the court at 38 years old, then Iverson (who is only 40) can still ball out in the NBA if they give him the chance.
2 Ron Artest
To hell with stretching, this old school baller might slam Hennessy in the locker room at halftime. Must we say more? We’ve seen the elbows thrown at the back of the head of some pour soul whom happened to be near World Peace during a rebound. While he was in Houston, his jumper splashed wetter than candy paint on his glossy Cadillac DTS pull up three pointer in the timeout corner. And World Peace drives through the lane like a tank with swanger rims chopping blades like a gladiator’s chariot in the Colosseum. His elbows are the blades.
1 Rasheed Wallace
At seven feet tall, Wallace towered with furious styles. Born in Philly, he blew up on the Portland Trailblazers and signed with the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and won a championship with them. Wallace would get in a referee’s ear like a giant fly. He wasn’t the type of person not to use freedom of speech. When he was playing in Detroit, a Pistons-Wallace fan was a thug even if we was the director of the PhD track for the biochemical engineering graduate students at University of Michigan. Wallace’s fury is known throughout the league like a ghetto Achilles.