Basketball coaches and players offer thoughts on trash talking

by Student Writer Mike Ezekiel

Many basketball legends like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird are not only remembered for their playing ability and numerous accolades, but also for their ability to “trash talk.”

Trash talking has become a natural part of the game for most players. Some players find ways to get inside the head of their opponent — with a combination of skill and trash talk — while others simply let their play do the talking.

When it comes to basketball at UNA, trash talking is defined in different ways. Head coach Bobby Champagne said he does not encourage trash talking as much as others.

“In general, I don’t think it’s good for the game,” Champagne said. “I think you should let your game talk for itself as opposed to running your mouth about what you did or didn’t do.”

Champagne also said trash talking can backfire.

“I don’t think we should have any conversation with the other team or give them any bulletin board material,” he said. “That gives them a reason to get going.”

Senior Forward Marcus Landry said trash talking is good for the game, but only to a certain extent.

“I love it,” Landry said. “It’s competitive to a certain point, but there is another level of trash talk. I like clapping in someone’s face or beating on my chest, but talking about someone’s mom goes beyond trash talk.”

Landry said trash talk not only gets inside the opponent’s head, but also fires up his teammates.

“I like to jump up and down and beat on my chest because it gives our team energy,” he said. “Some people don’t consider that trash talk, but to me it shows the other team that we’re stronger. When I score on them I say ‘give me my buckets,’ or sometimes I say ‘give me my rebound.’ Coach Champagne says I’m overexcited sometimes, so I have to calm down.”

Landry’s teammate, freshman guard Jeff Hodge, said he does not talk a lot of trash on the court. He said he is more of the type of player to let his play do the talking.

“I have no problem with trash talking, but my dad raised me to just play the game,” Hodge said. “He said not to worry about the defense or the fans because that’s motivation to them. If someone comes at me talking, I’ll just show them what I can do.”

Hodge said he agrees with his teammate on where to draw the line when it comes to trash talking.

“When you talk about someone’s family, that’s when it becomes personal,” he said. “Those are the things that should be left out.”

Landry and Hodge said they carry themselves differently on the court, as they try to resemble two NBA players on completely different sides of the spectrum when it comes to talking smack.

“I’m kind of like Kevin Garnett,” Landry said. “Not to the extent of throwing balls at people, but his attitude and how dominant he is.”

Hodge said he compares his style to Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant.

“He’s very humble and he might say something here or there, which is exactly how I am,” he said. He never goes into the game talking, but if someone comes at him talking, he comes back at them with his game.”

Champagne said he does not necessarily like his team to trash talk, but he believes in confidence.

“I think you should play with confidence and have a swagger about yourself, but I don’t think you should get in anyone’s face,” he said. “I tell them to keep their mouth shut and just play.”