The Best Taunts in NBA History

Early in the Pacers/Raptors game tonight, Danny Granger picked up a technical foul after yelling at a ref. Granger was upset after both of his recent flailing attempts to draw a foul went uncalled. There was likely some light contact at each, but the petulant arguing he continued all the way down the court after the second miss was probably more one of those things where his pride was hurt more than his body.

He had to totally commit to the guise that he had been so maliciously wronged to save face. From my couch here in New York, it looked more like when Vince Carter misses a shot and then shakes his wrist pretending his hand has been bothering him and that’s why he missed. NBA players are a prideful bunch and don’t tend to want the world to think they just wasted two of their team’s possessions with “bail me out, ref, please” attempts that went uncalled.

After a rough first quarter, Granger actually appeared to be turning things around late in the second. He had one very nice block and, soon after, scored in the lane with a nice little fadeaway and then earned to FTs with an crafty up-and-under attempt. He missed a layup later, so who knows if he was getting back on track or what.

But it was soon moot.

As Ed Davis went up strong for a dunk, Granger slide over and said not so fast. He sized him up and swatted him badly, leaving Davis in a heap on the baseline. The mere embarrassment he just dished out wasn’t enough though. Danny strolled towards the lying-down Davis and stared him down so Ed could be sure who just sent back his dunk.

And, of course, this was an obvious technical foul. The ref rung him up for tech number two and he was on his way to the locker room. It may have been the best thing to happen to Indiana, really. Granger was 1-for-8 and hadn’t had a decent play aside from those two aforementioned plays in the paint and those two two blocks.

It was a foolish decision by Granger on a night full of them. He knows the rules well and blatantly, brazenly disregarded them to the detriment of his team (presuming they still wanted him on the court tonight the way he was playing).

Still, just because Granger was an idiot and ignored the rules, it doesn’t make the rules not dumb.

They were naturally instituted at some point when the NBA was turning into more of a battle than a finesse sport. The Knicks and Heat were turning all their playoff games in the late 90s into trench wars, and it was an evolution of the Knicks/Pacers, Knicks/Bulls and Bad Boy Pistons/everybody battles that had been much more fun a few years earlier. It was probably for the best, they put those rules into play. Fans don’t generally like watching guys show each other up like that, and it was leading to many an on-court scuffle. The rules definitely cleaned up the game.

There was a time when this stuff was common, however. And at times, taunting was marvelous. Here are the three best plays after which a player went out of his way to disrespect the defender he just embarrassed.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_PzNsUotVI&version=3&hl=en_US]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D9Zf6uMdDk&version=3&hl=en_US]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grXws5m11SA&version=3&hl=en_US]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkc1YLpeKsA&version=3&hl=en_US]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvzIPnfSaDI&version=3&hl=en_US]

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