My own personal Hall of Fame of tough talking athletes probably figures prominently on your trash talkers list, too.
They were not only incredible athletes, but they were smart.
These sports icons used their own smattering of smack to gain a psychological edge over opponents.
Their brash babble not only gave them an advantage over rivals, but it added to their lore as tough, confident competitors.
These Hall of Famers backed up their bark, and they set the standard for hubris, creativity and an ability to back up whatever they spoke.
They weren’t like today’s corporate minded modern day athletes like LeBron James, Russell Wilson, Mike Trout, Chris Paul, Sidney Crosby and others.
These new guys choose every word and measure every sound bite to protect their own personal brands.
They’re completely unlike the old guys.
That’s because the old guys Ali, Jordan, Bird and company never worried if they’d lose a State Farm, Samsung or Chunky Soup commercial.
Plus, they didn’t fret about seeing their Adidas or Nike sales slip.
And, they certainly didn’t worry about failing to get a new endorsement deal because of what they said in the moment on the field or in the arena or at a news conference.
MJ, Ali, Bird, Broadway Joe and Babe backed up their bark with bite.
My new sports podcast on iTunes and Stitcher acknowledges those whom I believe were the best trash talkers in sports.
These retired superstars performed their best when under pressure.
Their silver tongues cemented their legacies and catapulted Trash Talk into a category all of its own.
Few fans will ever forget Babe Ruth’s called shot or Joe Willie Namath’s Super Bowl guarantee.
All sports fans remember the audacity of Muhammad Ali calling himself “the greatest” – and then becoming it.
And, no modern day athlete can ever emulate the creative, cock sure confidence of Bird and MJ.
From prideful proclamations to inventive insults and from timely taunts to endless yakking, MJ and Bird established Trash Talk as an acceptable and expected element in sports.
Today, thanks to these NBA greats and notable athletes, the jabbering of junk can be found in any sport and at any level.
But, this verbal sparring is most entertaining when uttered by multi-millionaire athletes behaving like 11-year-olds squabbling and squawking in the schoolyard.
And, if asked to comment, Larry and Michael would still have something witty and clever to say today.
Straight talk. No static.
This is MIKE!