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Your mama's so fat, dogs follow her around for shade.
Yo, hold on, now. Nothing personal. This is scientific. If someone said that to you, would you consider it mere "trash talk" or an out-and-out "taunt"?
You 're so ugly that when you were a baby, your mother fed you with a slingshot.
Again, is this mere woofing? Or do you consider it more severe than that, something that would require you to rip off the speaker's arms and beat him with them?
This is the sticky wicket that NBA referees will be facing this season as the league steps up its attempt to quell on-court violence. Last season Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, Scottie Pippen, Kevin Johnson and nine zillion other guys were suspended for at least one game or fined for punching, chasing a ref and, of course, head-butting. Flagrant fouls were up 43.5% from the year before. The New York Knicks got in more rumbles than the gangs in West Side Story.
Anyway, the Big Suits in the NBA office on Fifth Avenue in New York City didn't like it one bit. If there's one thing the Big Suits in the NBA office don't want to happen is to have their game turned into the senseless mayhem and nightly gloves-off bloodshed of, say, baseball.
So the Suits are considering a crackdown on these millionaire hooligans this season with some serious new rules. Under one proposal, trash talking will be permitted but taunting will result in a technical foul.
What exactly is the difference?
For instance, if the man who is guarding you says, I could whip your butt with Salman Rushdie's moves, is that just trash talk or is it a taunt? If somebody says, Your wife is so wrinkled she has to screw her hat on, is that merely jackin' or should you start kicking his behind until his nose bleeds? If your opponent says, I'm gonna use you in more ways than Arm & Hammer, what's the call?
"Taunting is the type of thing that would lead to an altercation," says Rod Thorn, one of the Biggest Suits, who, as the NBA's vice-president for operations, serves as the league's rules enforcer. "Taunting is something that embarrasses the opponent in front of everybody in the stands. Trash talking is just talk. But taunting is something that is very hard to back down from."