The NBA’s dirtiest players

In the wake of Ron Artest’s (yes, I am reverting to the old name) flagrant elbow to James Harden’s head, Sports Illustrated has released their list of the NBA’s 15 dirtiest players. SI asked 146 players to name the person they thought was the dirtiest in the whole league, not including teammates.

Topping the list was Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Evans. It’s not surprising when you figure that the 9-year veteran plays about 14 minutes a game and really only goes in to do the dirty work. If you remember, it wasn’t too long ago that a foul committed against Evans was downgraded from a flagrant to a personal because he clearly flopped when the referees looked at it on replay.

Kevin Garnett comes in at number two. The Boston Celtics veteran has long been known for talking a lot during the games and taking the occasional cheap shot.

Coming in the third spot is the man formerly known as Metta World Peace. This is a little surprising considering this poll was taken before the elbow to Harden’s head, and MWP has been commended for cleaning up his act since he became a L.A. Laker. I guess the facade can fool the public but it doesn’t fool the people on the court.

If you go down the rest of the list, there are a few obvious choices and some surprises. I was actually pretty shocked at the number of superstars on the list, guys that are in the spotlight all the time so they can’t really afford to be dirty. Guys like Kevin Love at #7, Chris Paul at #5 and Dwight Howard at #12 (although Dwight isn’t that big of a surprise).

There are the guys that are just traditionally dirty, and it’s no surprise they’re on the list. Shane Battier at #13 and Raja Bell at #15 have been notorious for their nagging defense their whole careers. I’m sure they didn’t get noticed just because they’re always just so quick at moving their feet.

And of course, there are the veterans who know how to get away with whatever they want because they’ve been doing it for so long. Kurt Thomas at #8 and Eduardo Najera at #10 don’t get the big minutes, it seems like their only purpose these days is to go in and be disruptive.

If you look at the rest of the list, no one comes to mind as being wrongfully named, and I can’t really think of too many people I would say got “snubbed.” As fans, we all have our opinions of who’s dirty, it’s just interesting to see what the players think.