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Crackin', Jackin', Woofin' and Smackin'
Phil Taylor
November 23, 1992
Whatever you want to call it, trash talkin' is a bigger part of the game than ever—and not everybody is happy about it
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November 23, 1992

Crackin', Jackin', Woofin' And Smackin'

Whatever you want to call it, trash talkin' is a bigger part of the game than ever—and not everybody is happy about it

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That's not bad, but it's not quite up to the standard set by former Dallas Cowboy linebacker Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson. He once sized up a foe thusly: "Man, you're ugly. And I bet if I follow you home, someone ugly will open the door."

Of course, if you're going to talk it, you better be able to walk it, which means only good players get the privilege of talkin' smack. And that brings us to...

Shooters' Privilege

Or, "If you're such a good defensive coach, why don't you get somebody out here to stop me?"

That's what Skiles once said to Georgetown coach John Thompson after Skiles had drilled a few jumpers in a row against the Hoyas. No matter what anyone tells you, smack talkers come in all colors and from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but there is one generalization that can be made: Good shooters tend to talk a lot of yang. For instance, Felton Spencer, who played center for Louisville from 1986 to '90, remembers that Kentucky's Rex Chapman would come down the floor and say to him. "This jumper's for you," right before he let go of the ball.

Chapman was just continuing a Wildcat tradition. One of his predecessors. Jim Master, who played for Kentucky earlier in the 1980s, was an expert trash man. "He was the biggest talker on our team by far," says Bearup. "He would hit a jumper and say, "You'd better come out and get me.' And the defender would come out a little farther the next time, and he'd make another jumper and say, 'No, it's going to take another step.' "

Kansas's Rex Walters is another sweet-shooting guard who finds it hard not to boast during games—especially to opponents who try to hold or slap at him on defense. "I tell them, 'You can work as hard as you want,' " says Walters, " 'but I am going to get the ball. And I am going to score. So work, man. Work.' "

Henry Williams, a North Carolina Charlotte alumnus, also liked to punctuate his baskets with some chatter. He would set the tone for the evening by telling the player guarding him, "You're my toy. I'm gonna play with you anytime I want to."

Maybe good shooters are often big talkers because it takes self-assurance to do both. Rarely will you hear a steadier stream of trash than that coming from a shooter who is "raining" in J's.

"It's a confidence thing." says Williams. "When you're throwing in jumpers, you feel like nothing can stop you, and you just want to shout about it. Sometimes you're not even talking to the guy guarding you, you're just celebrating. And sometimes the better the talk makes you feel, the worse it makes him feel, which is O.K., too."

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