Ric Flair would be proud of Draymond Green, who's well on his way to earning the title as NBA's "Dirtiest player in the game." Green was at it yet again on Thursday night, as he "accidentally" kicked James Harden in the face during Golden State's double-overtime loss to the Houston Rocktes.
Whether Green means to strike opponents over and over again really doesn't matter. The way he plays the game is dirty. It's effective, sure, but it's dirty.
Yet Green is merely continuing a long line of NBA stars who have pushed the envelope with their physicality and lack of respect for the rules. Here are the 10 dirtiest players in modern NBA history, ranked.
If your favorite dirty player didn't make the list, know that we considered him. I guess I apologize for the exclusion?
NBAE/Getty ImagesJesse D. Garrabrant
You might try to defend KG by saying that he just always gave it his all. He wasn't trying to be dirty; the man simply refused to let up against any opponent.
And if you're trying to make that case on Garnett's behalf, I have one rebuttal for you: the time he blatantly hit Channing Frye below the belt in a meaningless regular-season game.
Thomas wasn't the dirtiest of the Bad Boy Pistons — we'll get to that person later — but he had his fair share of dirty tricks to keep Michael Jordan in check in the '80s. Thomas' cherubic visage belied his knack for getting under an opponent's skin.
NBAE/Getty ImagesAndrew D. Bernstein
Rodman made his reputation with the aforementioned Pistons, then somehow got even crazier as the years wore on. When MJ thinks you're going a little too hard, it might be time to back off.
AFP/Getty ImagesVINCE LAFORGET
Draymond Green is the reigning king of flailing kicks to the nether regions, but no one can top CP3 as the Emperor of Groin Shots. Add in his affinity for flopping, and Paul is one of the dirtiest players in the NBA today.
We could have included the entire roster of the mid-90s Knicks, if we're being honest. Oakley was the enforcer of the group, however — a man who turned intimidation into a professional-basketball skill.
There's something about basketball's elite point guards and dirty play. Stockton endlessly grabbed at jerseys, scratched and clawed on defense, and ran into opposing players to deliver clandestine hip checks when the refs weren't looking.
Every mob squad needs a leader. Laimbeer wasn't the most talented player on the Pistons or the most important, but he was easily the dirtiest. He fought Charles Barkley, Robert Parish, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and many more. Basically, if you were anybody in the NBA during the 1980s, chances are Laimbeer wanted to punch you in the face.
Maybe Green receives more criticism than he deserves because we see each of his transgressions over and over again in today's age of constant sports coverage. Yet as the game has gotten cleaner and friendlier, Green sticks out for the edge he still brings every time he steps on the floor.
If Green wants to prove he's not dirty, there's an easy solution: stop kicking people, Draymond.
Getty ImagesEzra Shaw
At least Bowen was consistent in his dirty play. The former Spurs wing was notorious for sticking his feet under an opposing shooter, taking away their landing space and making them worry about injury every time they rised up to fire away.
Bowen denied being a dirty player throughout his career; unfortunately for the three-time champion, the rest of us have eyeballs and memories. Plus, there was that whole instance where the NBA had to actively warn Bowen to stop being dirty. Without a doubt, he takes the cake — until Draymond keeps kicking away, that is.