Nobody in the NBA really wants to fight. These are talented giants who enjoy winning basketball games, a sport that is built on beauty and skill. Unlike sports such as rugby or mixed martial arts, basketball is not meant to be dirty and violent to fans. But still, like any other competitive sport, basketball can get a little chippy. More specifically, players get into fights.
While we might hate to admit it, seeing giants get into each other can certainly be interesting. But which players in today’s game are truly ones that should be avoided? We recently saw how LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart got into it during the Lakers vs. Pistons game, and it is still making news to this day. LeBron left Stewart bloodied by an elbow that certainly looked like a cheap shot, even if The King begs to differ. The way Stewart reacted to that shot broke news outlets because the 20-year-old was begging for smoke with one of the greatest players ever.
We also saw how reigning MVP Nikola Jokic ran over Markieff Morris which led to widespread NBA drama. When Nikola felt he received a cheap shot, he rammed Markieff to the ground when the Heat player inexplicably turned his back. Things seem to be getting chippy during NBA competition lately, so it is time to discover the ten players that you certainly do not want to mess with in today’s NBA.
10. Udonis Haslem
First of all, Udonis Haslem is an old-school player. He knows his line, and when it is crossed, it will get ugly. The veteran is 41 years old and “old-man strength” is a very real thing, especially when it comes to disrespect. Haslem is a respected individual in the game due to his longevity and understanding as a locker room leader, so he will likely go untested this season. But when it does happen, Haslem will make sure his feelings are felt.
For one, Udonis is 6’8” and weighs 235 lbs. That alone should make guys consider twice before missing with him, even if he is nearing 42 years old. Haslem is known for being a tough player on the court when he played significant minutes, so one can be sure that the 3-time NBA champion will not back down to anyone at any moment.
9. Boban Marjanovic
Boban is one of the most likable people in the NBA and is truly a gentle giant. He is goofy, loves to have fun, and does not mind laughing at himself. That is what makes him a fan favorite because he understands his abnormal size and uses it to make people laugh. But Boban is also someone you should never cross because he will literally destroy you.
Marjanovic is 7’3” and 290 lbs, meaning he has abnormal strength to fit his abnormal build. Any ordinary human being should cower in his presence during an altercation, but even NBA players probably do not want a piece of him. Boban is always smiling, but it is terrifying when he scowls. Getting a gentle giant angry is not a good thing in life, and the Serbian is a guy that no one should ever anger. A happy Boban is extremely likable, but an angry one should not be played with on any level.
8. Marcus and Markieff Morris
As the saying goes, “strength in numbers”. The Morris Twins are not to be messed with, because they will always back each other up. Like any other pair of twins, the Morris brothers will stick up for each other and are almost identical in their thought processes. Two men will always be stronger than one, especially if each of them is over 6’7” and over 210 lbs.
Marcus Morris plays tough, using his size to score the ball and also talk trash at any given moment. The current Los Angeles Clipper does not back down from anyone and does not mind getting scrappy with any opponent, especially when it comes to winning. That is why the Clippers signed him to a $64 million contract last year. Markieff is even bigger than Marcus and weighs over 240 lbs. Messing with him will not end well, even if Nikola Jokic seemingly got away with it this season. Together, the Marcus Twins are not to be messed with and are better left alone.
7. Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell is an undersized big man at 6’7”, although he plays as if he is at least 2 or 3 inches taller. The 2020 6th Man of the Year is a force on the glass and prospers whenever he is near the basket. Harrell does not back down from anyone and being undersized actually fuels his fire because he always plays with a chip on his shoulder. That is why he is better left unprovoked.
Harrell has a pretty scary “angry face”, and has built-in intensity when he is in the heat of competition. A “dog” of his caliber does not come around often, and Harrell has no problem getting in the opponent’s faces if he feels disrespected at any point. Harrell is undersized on the court when compared to other power forwards or centers, but he is no slouch on a physical level. Standing 6’7” and 240 lbs means he is muscle-bound and can certainly handle himself in confrontations, meaning that “Trez” should be left alone on most occasions.
6. Draymond Green
Draymond Green receives a ton of criticism for his individual statistics or the fact that he is not a true star in the league. But it is about time that he receives his credit for being one of the best defenders of his era and a tough player who does not back down from anyone. At 6’6” and over 230 lbs, Green is a thick forward who has no problem getting physical even if he is shorter than most at his position.
Draymond is the tough core of the Golden State Warriors and has been for many years. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson are all really nice guys; and sometimes they needed a guy like Green to take abuse and dish it out. Draymond is doing that again this year, acting as the protector of the young core that has started 16-2. Green will not back down, and that means players should be aware when messing with him or his teammates.
5. Robin Lopez
At 7’0” and over 280 lbs, Robin Lopez is someone nobody wants to mess with. Even the toughest guys in the league do not want to get into a scuffle with Lopez, because he has a history of being a guy who does not mind getting into physical altercations. Robin Lopez is notorious for getting into it with players, and at his size, it is likely that he will win most battles.
Lopez is simply a beast of a man and has thick arms and shoulders. Running into Lopez when he sets screens is a problem because he has a powerful base and a ton of mass behind his picks. When he is battling in the paint, Robin is adept at hauling down rebounds and banging with opponents. His raw size and strength make him a scary figure to come at.
4. LeBron James
Say what you will about LeBron James, but he is one physical specimen. Standing 6’9” and weighing 250 lbs, James is a force on the court. LeBron could have played any professional sport requiring that type of build, including professional football where he would have excelled. But playing in a more finesse sport has allowed James to have a very long career, where he can use his physical gifts to break records left and right. Of course, he is a master at playing basketball.
But LeBron is one player that will be petrifying when angry. He is stronger, faster, and more explosive than almost every player in the league, and getting into a fight with him could spell trouble. James seemingly did not want any piece of Isaiah Stewart, but that was probably because he felt he did not do anything wrong. But make no mistake, James is more than capable of defending himself against anybody. Put it this way, if LeBron James trained MMA, nobody would have had a chance at stopping him.
3. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic absolutely rocked Markieff Morris when he shoulder-charged him to the ground. It is amazing how Markieff was able to get up, although he has missed games from such a massive impact. Nikola is 6’11” and weighs 284 lbs, meaning he is literally a gigantic human being. If Jokic wants to take matters into his own hands, there is not much anyone can do about it. But Nikola is generally very cool, never looking to get into situations.
The real reason that Nikola Jokic checks in at #3 is because of his crazy brothers. Strahinja and Nemanja Jokic are two intimidating men, as they are both tough guys who clearly love a physical altercation. Nikola has stated before how he is sometimes fearful of his older brothers because they possess tempers and are passionate people. Markieff and Marcus Morris could have an issue on their hands if the Jokic brothers do want to meet up someday.
2. Steven Adams
At nearly 7’0” and weighing 265 lbs, Steven Adams is considered the strongest player in the NBA. Jimmy Butler has stated before how running into Adams is like running into a brick wall, because the New Zealand native is incredibly strong. Adams is built with pure muscle and is surprisingly agile as well. He has a mean mug face on the court when he plays, and it is incredibly difficult to manage a player of Adams’ size on the floor. What is even more amazing is how funny and relaxed Steven Adams actually is, because he is genuinely one of the nicest personalities in the league.
But there is no doubt that Steven Adams is the most powerfully built man in the NBA. He cannot be moved and cannot be stopped on a physical level when trying to box him out. When setting screens, Adams is an incredibly effective center. That is a major reason why he formed a very strong partnership with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City for years. Out of all the players in the league, nobody will ever mess with Steven Adams except for one trained martial artist.
1. James Johnson
It is often said that mixed martial artists are the scariest people in the world because they are literally trained on hurting people. As a professional basketball and also a black belt in Karate, James Johnson is absolutely someone that nobody should think about messing with. Johnson is 6’7” and 240 lbs as well, meaning guys do not have a chance on a physical or skill level when it comes to fighting.
James Johnson has built his NBA career off being a competitor who does not back down from anybody and being a hustle player that goes for loose balls while playing solid defense. So clearly, Johnson has a toughness gene well-ingrained in him. Johnson has also had an MMA and kickboxing career while stating that he is considering a UFC career once he is done with the NBA. Johnson is a well-built athlete with a track record of being a guy who can kick your ass, which is why he is hardly challenged by anyone in the league.